Injury Notes: D. Mitchell, Barton, R. Williams, Kleber

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell returned to practice on Thursday and told reporters that his goal is to be available for Game 1 of the playoffs this weekend, per the team’s official site.

“That’s the goal,” Mitchell said. “Barring any setbacks — god forbid, knock on wood. The goal is to be out there and helping my teammates to try and win a championship. That’s been the goal all year.”

Discussing his right ankle sprain today, Mitchell admitted that missing the last 16 games of the season as he rehabbed that injury has been a “tough process,” adding that the sprain “wasn’t as minor as it was made out to be” by some.

The Jazz will learn their first-round playoff opponent on Friday, when either the Warriors or Grizzlies win the final play-in game of 2021.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Nuggets swingman Will Barton, who has been sidelined since straining his hamstring on April 23, participated in parts of Wednesday’s practice and is aiming to return during the team’s first-round series, league sources tell Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Head coach Michael Malone said today that he’s unsure whether Barton will be ready to go for Game 1, Singer adds (via Twitter).
  • Celtics big man Robert Williams is considered day-to-day due to his nagging toe injury, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Williams didn’t practice today and head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t expect him to return to practice on Friday either.
  • If he’s healthy, Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber figures to spend a lot of time guarding Clippers star Kawhi Leonard in the first round, as Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News writes. However, a sore right Achilles tendon complicates Kleber’s status. He went through parts of Wednesday’s practice and the Mavs are evaluating him daily, per head coach Rick Carlisle (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).
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