Donovan Mitchell declared himself ready to return on Sunday from the ankle sprain that has sidelined him since April 16, but the Jazz disagreed with the All-Star’s assessment, ruling him out for Game 1.
As Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder explained before the game that the team’s medical staff met with Mitchell after shootaround and decided to hold him out. Snyder acknowledged that Mitchell wasn’t thrilled with the decision, MacMahon adds.
The last-minute change of plans also left Mitchell’s teammates confused, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Rudy Gobert said he was “surprised” to wake up from his nap and find out that Mitchell wasn’t playing, while Bojan Bogdanovic was unsure about the reason for the decision.
“I mean, I don’t know what happened, honestly, with the decision for him and the medical staff to keep him out,” Bogdanovic said. “You should ask him.”
The decision figures to face increased scrutiny due to the fact that the Jazz lost Game 1 to the Grizzlies on Sunday night. However, the good news is that Game 2 won’t take place until Wednesday, giving Mitchell two days before Utah returns to the court. It would be surprising if the 24-year-old remains active for that game — late on Sunday night, he tweeted, “Sorry y’all… I wish I could say more…. I’ll be out there soon!”
Here are a few more Northwest notes:
- Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic identifies five challenges facing the Timberwolves as their offseason begins, including filling out Chris Finch‘s staff, addressing a hole in the frontcourt, and determining Malik Beasley‘s role going forward.
- Spenser Davis of Daily Thunder passes along three key takeaways from Thunder GM Sam Presti‘s end-of-season press conference. Presti indicated that he expects Oklahoma City’s rebuild to take some time and told reporters that he’d be open to moving either up or down in the draft, depending on where the Thunder’s picks land.
- Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post contends that the Nuggets are already approaching must-win territory in Game 2 of their first-round series after dropping Game 1 to Portland.