NBA Rumor: Donovan Mitchell Injury

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Donovan Mitchell to have MRI on left hamstring

Utah Jazz star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell limped off the court after his hamstring tightened up late in the Mavericks’ 102-77 blowout Game 5 win Monday night in Dallas. Mitchell said he will undergo an MRI on Tuesday in Salt Lake City but expressed optimism that he will be available for Thursday’s Game 6, when the Jazz are facing elimination. “This is the playoffs, so I’ve got to find a way,” said Mitchell, who doubled over in pain in the tunnel while limping to the locker room. “We’ll see how I feel, but I’m a competitor.”

Donovan Mitchell: 'Ankle feels good'

“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).

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.”

Donovan Mitchell ankle injury not serious

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.”

Donovan Mitchell: Nothing 'to be weary of' with ankle

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.”

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.”

Mitchell-Jazz relationship damaged?

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.

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.”
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May 24, 2022 | 8:40 pm EDT Update