“But now you’re adding back the jumping and the athleticism. The ankle feels good. I’ll be ready to go. I think last year definitely was shaky. There were just so many different obstacles with the ankle and whatnot, but — like I said — no slight to Phoenix or Milwaukee or the Clippers, you know, (but) I feel like if we were healthy, you know, we, we get to the Finals. I feel like we (would) win, but you know it’s all easy when you say ifs, ands or buts. It’s easy to say that.”
As we chronicled at the time, and as Mitchell discussed in our chat, he believed he was ready to play for the postseason opener. Then again, as he shared in detail, he was never quite the same after he returned and was forced to grow his game as a result. “I’ve kind of got to a point where I’m appreciative of the injury for myself,” Mitchell said. “For my personal growth on and off the floor, I think that injury really — and you know me, Sam, like I love jumping through, around you or over you — (but) that injury kept me on the ground for the entire playoffs, and it allowed me to have to make decisions on the ground. Slow it down. Different things that really opened things up to (where) I was like, ‘OK, this is another level, (a) layer of my game that I can get to without (the athleticism).
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell on his summer: "It hasn't fully sunk in for me yet. I'm still in shock. This summer is gonna look a little different because obviously I'm hurt so definitely trying to rehab first." Said this hurts worse that losing 3-1 last year. #takenote | @UtahJazz
Eric Walden: Quin Snyder, on the Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley injury situations: "They won't be put there if there's a chance they could further hurt themselves. … The impact that they have, even if they're not at their best, is substantial."
Tony Jones: Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell are both QUESTIONABLE for tomorrow night in Los Angeles against the Clippers
Sarah Todd: Donovan Mitchell is clearly frustrated and emotional (rightly so) about the situation that he's in and that it's all happening during the playoffs. Feel for the guy.
Tim MacMahon: Donovan Mitchell on pain in his ankle and lack of explosiveness: "It's something I'm going to have to deal with [the rest of the playoffs]. It f---ing sucks. ... You've got to find a way to make it happen. It's tough, but I've got to find a way. Otherwise, I'm going to be home."
Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell exited Saturday's 132-106 Game 3 loss to the LA Clippers because of pain in his right ankle, but the decision for him not to return was due to the lopsided score. "I feel like I was able to go back, but no need to risk it down 16, 18 at that point," Mitchell said. "I'll be fine."
Mitchell has averaged 32.3 points per game during the playoffs, including 30 point on 11-of-24 shooting in Game 3, despite dealing with persistent pain in the ankle. "It's when I land," Mitchell said. "It's been just trying to manage it. I don't really know what else to tell you; I don't want to say too much. It was just the landing, but I'm good. I'll be ready for Game 4."
Jared Weiss: Donovan Mitchell: “I’m good. That’s all I got for you. I’m good. The situation happened. I felt like I was good to come back, but no need to risk it down 18. Time to rest up and get ready for the next game.”
With the game slipping away from the Jazz, Mitchell had a conversation with coach Quin Snyder. He did not return to the game, although the Utah medical staff had cleared him to return. "He's in good shape," Snyder said. "He could have gone back in the game, but at that point, the lead had stretched. In fact, while we were talking, I think Kawhi hit a 3. That was my decision not to put him back in at that point. The game had gotten away from us at that point, but he's fine."
Andy Larsen: Mike Conley is listed as questionable for Game 3. (Donovan Mitchell isn’t on the report at all, for those concerned.)
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell writhed in pain on the Vivint Arena court with 12 seconds remaining in Thursday's Game 2 against the LA Clippers, reaching toward the right ankle that he sprained several weeks ago. Mitchell got up after several seconds, shot his free throws and finished the 117-111 victory that gave the top-seeded Jazz a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series. He limped off the floor after the win, but Mitchell insisted his health is no concern as the series heads to Los Angeles. "I got hit and it hurt, but I'm fine now," Mitchell said after his 37-point performance. "I walked in here. If you want me to sprint for you, I can. I'm good. You know, s--- happens. Thankfully, it wasn't bad. Move on and get ready for Game 3."
So, when he gingerly got up and was walking around, hopping up and down in the huddle in the timeout that followed the foul, there was a reasonable amount of concern. That concern mounted when he checked out of the game 11 seconds later and went straight to the locker room. But Mitchell said there’s nothing to be worried about. “It wasn’t anything bad,” he said after the Utah Jazz’s Game 2 series tying 141-129 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. “It wasn’t anything to be weary of. I feel good.”
“Just trying to keep it warm,” Mitchell said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. I just haven’t played in five weeks, so all my stuff that I’ve been doing, the ankle is warm. Every workout, there’s always a time where you’re warm. There’s never a time where you’re sitting and coming back in.”
Eric Walden: Rudy Gobert, on Donovan Mitchell's return: "It’s been more than a month, so he was really antsy to get back out there. We missed him. We needed his energy, his positivity, his talent. Tonight was a great night to have him back."
The Utah Jazz decided to hold Donovan Mitchell out of Game 1 of their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, which became a controversial decision within the franchise. Mitchell publicly opposed the move and "I just think we're in a day and age that's different than back even five or six years ago where the training staffs carry a lot of weight," said Bobby Marks on The Hoop Collective Podcast. "They are the decision makers from an injury standpoint. And the front offices are basically at the mercy of your sports medicine, slash, training, slash strength and conditioning departments."
Brian Windhorst: Donovan's relationship with the organization was damaged this week. Is it damaged to a point where it can't be repaired? I'm not saying that. Is it something that they'll get past and he will just move on and have just a blip on the radar screen, maybe. Maybe they're in the Finals in two months, and who cares? Maybe they win the next four games, and it's totally forgotten. Okay. But right now, Donovan is hurting.
For most of Game 1, the Jazz played without passion or energy. They allowed Memphis to walk into Vivint Smart Home Arena and steal the series opener, 112-109. On Sunday night, Mitchell continued to post cryptic messages on Twitter and IG. Then came Monday morning, when an ESPN report about Mitchell’s frustrations only added to the intrigue. Heading into Wednesday night’s Game 2, what went on behind the scenes has come more into focus. Even if there is ambiguity elsewhere. Mitchell, as some stars around the league are known to do, has his own team of trainers who work in conjunction with the Jazz medical staff. According to sources, Mitchell’s team cleared him to play and gave him the go-ahead. Utah’s staff wanted him to sit out another game. The disconnect, quite clearly, did not sit well with Mitchell.
When it comes to how this went down, though, that distinction at the end of Mitchell’s comment is vital. Not only had Mitchell’s team indicated internally that he was healthy enough to play, but sources say he had been expecting to make his return from the ankle injury late in the regular season and was already frustrated with the unexpected delay. But the Jazz, who have the final say in whether a player is ready to play, didn’t agree that he should play and made the determination for a number of reasons.
According to a source with knowledge of the organization’s thinking, the top priority was Mitchell’s health and safety. The ankle sprain that Mitchell suffered in a game against Indiana on April 16 was clearly serious, and the notion of bringing him back when he was anything less than 100 percent caused concern on two fronts.
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell on moving forward from the last 24 hours of drama with the Jazz locker room. "I want it to be known that we're moving forward as a group as a unit, because we got stuff to handle and as a group and team." #takenote | @kslsports
David Locke: Donovan Mitchell "The biggest thing for me was I felt like I should have played. It is no secret. We all know that. The frustration was it was unfair to my team. It eats me up. I barely slept it. That is where it hurt."
Eric Walden: I asked Quin if there was any kind of meeting between Donovan and the Jazz organization to dissect the communication breakdown pre-Game 1, he said the team always gets together post-game, but that Donovan would be motivated to get past "this controversy, if you can call it that."
Ben Anderson: When asked about who oversees Donovan Mitchell's health, Quin Snyder had to say this: "There's a collaboration in that regard." @KSLsports | #TakeNote
Michael C. Wright: Quin Snyder: “Donovan always wants to be on the floor. He’s competitive. As you know, Donovan will be back [for Game 2].”
Andy Larsen: That confirms what I'm hearing as well: that this is kind of a power struggle between Mitchell's training staff and Jazz training staff over who gets to make the decisions on Mitchell's recovery and availability.
Andy Larsen: And a key Mitchell quote from Thurs: "I feel like it's kind of been progressing well for like the past two weeks, I want to say. I mean, you're gonna quote me on that, but I could be wrong. But I feel like that's when things started to go in the right way and projecting well."
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell was incensed at the late decision to scratch him from Sunday's playoff opener and it deepened tensions with the team regarding his recovery from a right ankle sprain, sources told ESPN.
Mitchell has been out since April 16, longer than was initially expected. After he progressed slowly in the early stages of recovery, Mitchell began to work with his personal training staff on the rehabilitation, sources said. There is hope that more rehab and testing can lead to Mitchell being cleared to play in Wednesday's Game 2, sources said, as the top-seeded Jazz look to even the series with the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies
But in addition to managing the injury, some easing of frustrations may have to take place behind the scenes. That could include new part-owner Dwyane Wade, sources said. Wade has a good relationship with Mitchell and is with the team this week in Salt Lake City. "Sorry y'all... I wish I could say more.... I'll be out there soon!" Mitchell tweeted after the Jazz's 112-109 Game 1 loss.
Mitchell’s teammates noted after the game that they were confused by the decision for him not to play. “It was a big surprise. I just don’t know … I try to stay out of all this because it’s just going to give me a headache,” Rudy Gobert said after the Jazz’s 112-109 loss to the Grizzlies. “… When you wake up [from a nap], you get ready for a game, and you find out that your star player is not going to play, it throws you off a little bit.”
Most importantly, the Jazz for a large portion of Sunday night backed down to Memphis. They didn’t match the physicality. They didn’t play through the trash talk. That likely doesn’t happen if Mitchell, who gives as good as he gets, plays. The Grizzlies were able to turn Sunday night into a street fight, where every inch was up for grabs. Mitchell thrives on that kind of game, and with him in the lineup, it seems unlikely that the Grizzlies would have built a 17-point fourth-quarter lead. “It was definitely a game-changer for us, when a guy of his caliber is not able to play,” Conley said. “It was tough on our team, expecting a guy like that back. We’ve played this season with guys in and out of the lineup all year. So at the end of the day, the loss is no excuse.”
Eric Walden: Bojan Bogdanovic, on Donovan Mitchell: "Of course we missed him, especially in the playoffs. I don’t know what happened, honestly, with the medical staff and him, to hold him out. You should ask him."
Tony Jones: Rudy Gobert said he found out Donovan Mitchell was out when he woke up from his afternoon nap: "Hopefully he's ready for next game," Gobert said.
Tim MacMahon: Quin Snyder says Jazz medical staff met with Donovan Mitchell after shootaround and decided to hold him out of Game 1. He acknowledged that Mitchell, who declared himself “ready to go” when he talked to media post-shootaround, isn’t pleased with the decision.
Drew Hill: Quin Snyder gets asked if Donovan Mitchell has missed parts of practice. He said yes, but he wasn’t the only guy. They held out different guys from different parts to keep them fresh. He also acknowledged that he wanted to play. Didn’t directly comment on whether he was upset.
Ben Anderson: Official, Donovan Mitchell will not play for the @Utah Jazz tonight due to his right ankle sprain.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell isn’t expected to play vs. Memphis in Game 1 tonight, sources tell ESPN. Mitchell has been working toward his return from a sprained right ankle.
Eric Walden: Donovan Mitchell: "I feel good. Always gonna be soreness. I feel good, I’m ready to go tonight. No pain. I’m excited to get going." Declines to say "for game-planning purposes" if he's on a minutes restriction.
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell is not listed on the @Utah Jazz injury report for tomorrow. So he'll be back and ready to play. Ersan Ilyasova is listed as questionable with a non-COVID illness.
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell on whether he thinks he'll be able to play his full minutes. "I haven't had that conversation as far as minutes. I would like to think so." @kslsports | #takenote
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell on his availability for Game 1. "That's the goal, there aren't any setbacks, God forbid, knock on wood, but that's the goal."
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell on his first practice: "Practice was good, I got out there and competed. You can tell it's the first time [...] in four or five weeks."
Eric Walden: Mike Conley, on Donovan Mitchell: "Something that Don’s thinking about, that we’re all thinking about, is him coming back & making sure everything’s laid out for him. … We’re gonna do everything we can during the week to make sure he’s ready to go. He’s gonna be ready as ever."
Eric Walden: Donovan Mitchell has been ruled out of the Utah Jazz’s final 3 regular season games and will not travel with the team for its road trip. He’ll be re-evaluated prior to the playoffs.
Eric Walden: Quin Snyder said that Donovan Mitchell is "coming along and working hard, doing everything he can to get back." Seemed to indicate he was not too worried about Donovan losing his timing, or the chemistry with teammates being rusty.
Eric Walden: Quin added that "you try to see the positives" of the situation, noting that with the play-in tourney, that gives Donovan some wiggle room to get re-acclimated: "There's a little larger window, so you can get some of that in a practice setting."
Eric Walden: Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley remain OUT Friday vs. the Nuggets. Juwan Morgan is also OUT (right heel soreness). But Udoka Azubuike is PROBABLE after missing most of the season with a right ankle sprain.
Ben Anderson: Quin Snyder said he didn't have an update on Donovan Mitchell who was due to get re-evaluated tonight. But, he said he doesn't have an update because he's not an expert on injuries so he doesn't offer updates.
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell remains out for tomorrow against the @Minnesota Timberwolves. The @Utah Jazz said last Saturday they’d reevaluate him in one week.
Eric Walden: Quin, on being without Donovan for at least a week: "It's a challenge for us to play without him, and obviously we want to get him back as soon as possible. … Hopefully we can try to improve in some other ways."
Sarah Todd: Following an MRI and clinical evaluation, Donovan Mitchell suffered a significant right lower ankle sprain. He will be re-evaluated in one week.
July 3, 2022 | 5:04 pm EDT Update
Kevin Durant’s quest to find a new home as he waits for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets could take him to a place he knows very well. Appearing on ESPN Radio, Marc J. Spears of Andscape called the Golden State Warriors a team to “keep an eye on” for Durant. Spears later took to Twitter to give more context to his report. Spears noted the Warriors “could” potentially offer the best package for both sides, with a deal involving Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman.
Keith Smith: Talking to some folks around the NBA, it sounds like some of the better free agents on the board are waiting to see what happens with KD and Kyrie trades. One agent told me: “Some teams might need to fill a lot of rotation minutes after a trade. We can be patient for now.”
KC Johnson: Can confirm Goran Dragic has agreed to a one-year deal with the Chicago Bulls, per source, which @Shams Charania had 1st. Nikola Vucevic, I’m told, played significant role in this situation.
Paolo Banchero will face immense pressure and other related challenges as the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, but the former Duke standout is ready for all of it. Banchero hit the court with his new team for the first time on Sunday as the Orlando Magic prepare for their upcoming stint in the Las Vegas Summer League. He worked extensively with Jamahl Mosley on several drills, and left an impression on the second-year head coach. “The one thing I’ve been observing more is his willingness and understanding of the game,” Mosley said. “Obviously, a fantastic teammate (by) pushing guys and trying to learn the ins and outs of the NBA system. A lot is coming at him and he has done a great job of embracing it. He is not afraid to ask questions and be willing to learn.”
The 19-year-old has been one of the most highly-recruited players over the years and is used to that pressure. He has often been targeted on the court but embraces the challenge and would have it no other way. “I’ve kinda always had a target on my back since high school,” Banchero said. “Going to Duke, it was the same thing. I was a projected top pick so every guy I went against wanted to get the best of me. It is going to be the same thing in summer league and it is going to be the same thing in the NBA. I just gotta be ready for it and accept the challenge.”