Central Notes: Mitchell, Lillard, Dosunmu, Drummond, Fontecchio

After missing 16 of the Cavaliers‘ final 26 games due to pain in his left knee, Donovan Mitchell said Wednesday that he’s “100 percent,” writes Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Mitchell had a platelet-rich plasma injection in the knee and was given plenty of rest as the team’s medical staff monitored his condition to prepare him for the postseason.

Withers notes that the injury affected Mitchell’s movement, as his usual explosiveness and quick change of direction were missing for weeks. A recent 33-point game against Indiana seemed to be a sign that he’s getting back to normal, and Mitchell said he’s ready to carry the playoff scoring load.

“That is just expected of me,” he said. “That’s who I am to myself, who everybody’s expecting me to be. But at the end of the day, I set my own personal goals and this is one of them. It just happens to align with everybody else’s expectations, too. I mean, I put that on me, and I’m not worried about that. I prepped for these moments. My teammates believe in me, and I believe in myself. Now I can sit here and say about this is all I want, but I got to go out there and do it.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard returned to practice today after sitting out Tuesday due to left adductor pain that started over the weekend, according to an Associated Press story. Lillard did some shooting and “all of the walk-through stuff,” according to coach Doc Rivers, who hopes to have him more active when practice resumes Friday. Milwaukee was 1-8 without Lillard this season.
  • Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu, who has been dealing with a bruised quad, was cleared to play and is in the starting lineup for tonight’s game with Atlanta, tweets KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Reserve center Andre Drummond, who is recovering from a sprained left ankle, is also active (Twitter link).
  • Simone Fontecchio expects to return to the Pistons next season and said he’s become more familiar with coach Monty Williams’ approach to the game, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit News (Twitter link). “I’m a restricted free agent, so most likely I’m going to be here,” Fontecchio said. “That’s good because being here the last two months, I understand Monty’s system and what his philosophy is and how we play. I’m definitely going to work this offseason knowing what my role is going to be.”
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