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Chase Jeter’s return date unknown, but Arizona passes first test without him by routing Utah

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chase-jeter-arizona-wildcats-back-injury-usc-ucla-gettings-lee-miller-update-2020-pac-12 Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Jeter was held out of the Arizona Wildcats’ blowout win over the Utah Utes on Thursday due to back spasms, and he could be out a while longer.

Head coach Sean Miller said he is unsure when the big man will return. Miller said Jeter experienced discomfort in Arizona’s first practice back from the Oregon trip, suggesting it did not hinder his performance in the pair of losses.

Jeter had a combined eight points and two rebounds in those games. He played a season-low 12 minutes in last Thursday’s loss to Oregon, Miller afterwards saying Jeter “didn’t get it done.”

“Like we always do, we’re listening to (trainer) Justin Kokoskie and our doctors and making sure that he’s able to be safe and return to the court,” Miller said. “You have to rely on the athlete as well, especially in a lower back situation.”

And especially when it comes to Jeter, who missed two games last year with back spasms and half of his sophomore season at Duke due to a more serious back injury.

“He’s had a history of that, so he’s not practiced and he’s more in the rehabilitation part of it,” Miller said.

With Jeter out of service, Miller inserted Stone Gettings into the starting five, sliding Zeke Nnaji over to center. It was Arizona’s first time trotting out a different starting lineup all season, and based on how it went, it might be the last time for a while.

Arizona shot 15 for 29 from 3, using a 4-out, 1-in attack to rout the Utes. Gettings, who had seven points in a season-high 28 minutes, was responsible for one of those 3s along with two assists.

“He gives us additional spacing,” Miller said. “His line tonight and his numbers weren’t as good as I almost thought, but you kind of know that he’s going to be ready. He’s older and getting him in there I think really complements our team in a big, big way.”

One slight on Gettings’ game: he did not reel in a single defensive rebound, what has been a point of emphasis for the Wildcats all season. Arizona still managed to outboard the Utes 38-32 anyway.

“That’s that kind of our carbon monoxide stat,” Miller said of Gettings’ goose egg. “You don’t see it, but it’s killing your team. He played 28 minutes and one thing he didn’t do is get a defensive rebound. You can’t win in college basketball if you give those teams those second shots, and I think at 12:30 on Saturday, that’s one of Colorado’s many strengths and we have to be ready. It’ll be interesting to see if we can pass that test because that’ll be a much different test.”

The short turnaround probably makes it unlikely Jeter will suit up Saturday. Miller said even before Jeter’s injury he was considering altering the starting lineup.

“I think getting players more minutes is step one,” he said. “I don’t think you want to change the lineup unless that group of five doesn’t give us the best chance to get off to a good start. But tonight, Stone played more minutes. Christian Koloko, he played nine and Ira (Lee), 12. [They] combined for eight rebounds, which is good.”