Jazz-Grizzlies: Donovan Mitchell upset about missing playoff opener despite being ‘ready to go,’ per report


After dropping Game 1 of their playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night, it’s safe to say the Utah Jazz certainly could’ve used All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell on the floor. Up until that afternoon it was actually expected for him to play, but Utah’s training staff decided he should remained sidelined due to his right ankle sprain. That decision reportedly upset Mitchell, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim MacMahon

via ESPN:

“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.”

Mitchell hasn’t played for the Jazz since April 16 due to that right ankle sprain. He practiced for the first time since his injury on May 20, and even participated in shootaround with the team Sunday morning. “I’m ready to go,” Mitchell said at the time. “No pain. I’m excited to get going.” Ultimately, the team made him a late scratch, which was certainly a surprise, including to some of the players on the Jazz, per Windhorst.

“I try to stay out of all of this, because it’s just going to give me a headache,” Rudy Gobert said. “Hopefully, he’s good for next game. That’s all I’m worried about.”

There is hope that Mitchell can be ready to go for Game 2 on Wednesday, but that depends on how his progression goes between now and tip off. If the medical staff decides once again he shouldn’t play, then it would be another tough blow for the Jazz. In regards to the “deepened tensions” between Mitchell and the franchise, that isn’t ideal for a team already trying to put the Mitchell-Gobert rift behind them. 

Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test in March 2020 is what led to the league shutting down for four months, and Mitchell was unhappy with his All-Star big man for not taking the virus seriously in the lead up to his positive test. The two didn’t speak for a period of time, but it appeared as though they put it behind them with the common goal of winning a championship this season in mind. If Mitchell is unhappy again, the Jazz will need to smooth things over with their franchise centerpiece before it escalates anymore.

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