After going through a full practice on Thursday, Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell said that, “barring any setbacks,” he plans to play in the Jazz’s Game 1 matchup against either the Golden State Warriors or the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mitchell sprained his ankle in an unusual collision with Indiana Pacers wing Edmond Sumner on April 16, and was ruled out on a week-by-week basis since then. On Thursday, Mitchell said that the injury “wasn’t as minor as it was made out to be.
“It definitely was a tough process just for me, I haven’t been out this long since my 10th grade year in high school,” Mitchell said. “It’s a mental game as much as a physical one.”
But Mitchell said he didn’t have any pain in his ankle after practicing on it for the first time, just expected soreness. Jazz coach Quin Snyder did notice more fatigue from Mitchell in his first practice, which caused the guard to take a possession out of practice here and there.
Mitchell said he hadn’t had a conversation with the team’s coaches or medical staff about whether or not he could play a full allotment of minutes for Sunday’s Game 1.
“I feel like I’m ready to play 48 minutes, but at the end of the day, you got to be smart, because you can go out there and reinjure it as well,” Mitchell said.
According to Mitchell, Sumner approached him after the injury and apologized for the collision, expressing that he didn’t mean to kick out his leg in the way that caused Mitchell’s ankle to turn. And Mitchell said he wasn’t frustrated about the incident.
“I think everything happens in life for a reason; I’m one of those people. I think this allowed me to grow in certain instances,” Mitchell said. “It allowed guys on our team to grow as well … Guys like Bojan (Bogdanovic) stepped up huge, Georges (Niang) has been huge — guys’ confidence levels rose.”
The Jazz’s All-Star guard averaged 26.4 points per game, along with 5.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per contest in the 53 games he was able to play this season. The Jazz had a 39-14 record in the games he played.
This story will be updated.