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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lower ankle sprain and there's some early optimism that this isn't a major injury to Mitchell, sources tell ESPN.
J. Michael Falgoust: Better look at that Donovan Mitchell injury. Right ankle #PacersJazz pic.twitter.com/hK6puHSTlC
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell is very clearly hurt and being carried off the floor. Really scary moment here at the arena. Mitchell is moving really slowly, hard to tell exactly what happened. Doesn't seem to be putting weight on his right leg.
Andy Larsen: Quin Snyder on Donovan Mitchell's illness: "If he or we felt like he could be effective, he would play." Pointed out how Mitchell helped on the defensive end Friday, despite not being 100%.
Jason Anderson: Guard @Donovan Mitchell (rib contusion) will not play for the @Utah Jazz in tonight’s game against the @Sacramento Kings.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell suffered a rib contusion and missed the entire second half of Friday's 90-83 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz said Mitchell's status will be updated Saturday. Mitchell suffered the injury and left the game for good with 9:05 remaining in the second quarter with the Jazz trailing 26-20 at the time. Without Mitchell, the Jazz lost their third straight game to the Lakers at Staples Center. "He's our leading scorer and it impacts the game," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "But I don't think our guys -- it's not a crutch or an excuse. I like the fact that our guys kept competing ... other guys got to pick it up."
Ryan McDonald: Former Jazz star Darrell Griffith will be in attendance at tomorrow's game, and the Jazz will wear the purple throwbacks for the first time this season (I haven't heard if Donovan Mitchell will be available. This is just a pretty applicable GIF)
Andy Larsen: Donovan Mitchell will be out against the Raptors Monday due to a left ankle sprain. Alec Burks is now listed as probable, as are Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder. Raul Neto still out.
Ryan McDonald: Grayson Allen getting the start for the Jazz tonight. “Hopefully I’ll step up and play a lot of minutes, take advantage of the opportunity that’s there. Obviously hope Donovan will be back quickly, but while he’s not, just make the most of my opportunity,” he said at shootaround
Tony Jones: Donovan Mitchell (hamstring tightness) will miss tomorrow night's matchup against Memphis. He underwent an MRI, which was negative
Tony Jones: Have gotten some questions concerning Donovan Mitchell's IG story, which showed his left foot in a boot. Sources say there is no new injury. The boot is precautionary and everything is fine
The Jazz later said Mitchell had exited with left foot soreness. X-rays were negative, and he will undergo further tests when the team returns to Salt Lake City. The Jazz do not believe that Mitchell's injury is serious, team sources told ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
Royce Young: Mitchell is hobbled after that steal by Harden. Just grabbed at the back of his left calf it looked like.
Kyle Goon: Donovan Mitchell is headed to the locker room with a trainer under each arm, walking tenderly. This is a nightmare for the Jazz.
Tim MacMahon: Donovan Mitchell on his ankle: "It's fine. There's no problem at all. I'm 100 percent."
“So far” implies more to come, and with the Jazz even with Oklahoma City at one game apiece, there’s at least three left to Utah’s — and Mitchell’s — surprising season. “If he was feeling something, he didn’t show it,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of Mitchell. “When he really got aggressive going to the rim, some other things opened up.”
Royce Young: Donovan Mitchell is going to go through his warmup routine, and then will make a decision, per Quin Snyder. Snyder says he’s “hopeful” Mitchell will play.
Kyle Goon: Quin Snyder says Donovan Mitchell still has to go through a warmup routine with trainer Mike Elliott. He's hopeful because Mitchell has improved in the last few days.
Eric Woodyard: Donovan Mitchell on playing Game 2: “I’m real determined on playing but if my body can’t, I’m not going to push it now and not be available the rest of the series. I think it’s a matter of being smart with it.”
September 24, 2021 | 3:01 pm EDT Update
Skeptical teams observing the Sixers believe that the interest in reconciling with Simmons stems more from their hope to recoup a bit more trade leverage than the infinitesimal amount they currently possess rather than a genuine attempt to mend the relationship. Whatever the motivations are for trying to coax Simmons back to the squad, withholding a large seven-figure sum after a few missed practices does not sound like the wisest olive branch to extend.
The Raptors are both intent on being as competitive as they can this season and confident that more appealing trade possibilities involving Dragić will materialize after the season begins, once a potential trade partner’s need for proven playmaking becomes more acute.
The emergence earlier this month of Rosas’ consensual romantic relationship with a female team staff member, after Rosas’ tense dealings with eventual successor Sachin Gupta over a Houston offer to Gupta that he was prevented from accepting, gave Taylor the needed justifications to make the change now. Photographic evidence of Rosas in a romantic clinch with his co-worker was widely circulated across the league on Wednesday after his dismissal and promptly usurped even the Simmons situation as the No. 1 topic on the NBA grapevine.
Example: During the Las Vegas summer league, word circulated that Lore and Rodriguez would have loved to have made a run at Toronto’s Masai Ujiri to lead Minnesota’s front office. Ujiri recently signed a lucrative contract extension to stay with the Raptors — and the Wolves realistically had no shot at him — but the whispered interest only reinforces the notion that Lore and Rodriguez want to make splashy hires.