SALT LAKE CITY -- First, the bad news: the Jazz learned point guard Mo Williams will miss at least the next six weeks following thumb surgery.
And then the good? They caught a break in the schedule and throttled former Jazzman Andrei Kirilenko and the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84 Wednesday at EnergySolutions Arena.
From a Jazz perspective it was hardly an even trade but considering they'd dropped three in a row and five of their previous six, it must have been nice to be the hunter instead of the hunted.
"It's a great win tonight, it showed us what we can do if we concentrate on what we have to do," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "This is who we're going to have. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We can't look around the corner and see what's going to happen (next)."
Coming off back-to-back losses to the L.A. Clippers, the Jazz were in need of a pick-me-up, especially after getting the bad news late in the afternoon.
Prior to the game, Jazz officials announced Williams, who missed his fifth consecutive contest, will undergo surgery Friday in New York to repair damage to his sprained right thumb. He will wear a splint for the next six weeks then undergo a re-evaluation.
While recovering, the 30-year-old will be able to participate in conditioning exercises but even if he is cleared to play it will take time to knock off six weeks of rust.
He initially suffered the injury during a Dec. 22 loss at Miami.
The Jazz (16-17) turned to veteran points Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson on Wednesday and they helped guide their young teammates to a critical victory over a team ranked above them in the Northwest Division standings.
After a shaky start which left them trailing 24-23 at the end of the first quarter, the Jazz outscored the T-Wolves 30-21 before halftime and began the second half with an 11-0 run. From then on, it was the Jazz in a boat race.
Six Jazz players scored in double figures, led by guard Gordon Hayward, who came off the bench for 17. Enes Kanter got extended playing time and finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Starting power forward Paul Millsap went 7-for-8 from the field and had 14 points in just 27 minutes of work. Teammate Al Jefferson scored 12 and added four of Utah's 12 blocked shots.
Kirilenko made his return to ESA and scored 12 points to go along with seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Power forward Kevin Love led the T-Wolves (14-14) with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
"We could have got good news all week, we still needed a win," Jefferson said. "We just knew we had to get out there and do what we needed to do to win the game. That's what we did."
What the Jazz did was get defensive stops, especially in the second quarter when they held the T-Wolves to just 30 percent shooting. Utah, meanwhile, went 13-for-20 from the field during that stretch and got assists on eight baskets.
With the fastbreak in play, Watson notched five assists before halftime and finished with nine total.
Tinsley, now the Jazz's starter, scored 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting, plus added three assists and six rebounds.
"It was very important (to get the win) knowing that we just lost (Williams), knowing the news we heard," Tinsley said. "That's just the nature of the beast. One of our best players went down, now other guys are going to get the opportunity to play. I don't think any one of us want that to happen with Mo but we've got to figure out a way to win ball games now with him out."
In additional injury news, Kanter suffered a sprained right ankle in the closing moments Wednesday and will be a game-time decision when the Jazz visit Phoenix on Friday.