Barring setback, Donovan Mitchell plans to play in Game 1 of NBA Playoffs


Mitchell has missed 16 games with ankle injury

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Donovan Mitchell went through his first full practice in five weeks on Thursday, and he was understandably a little winded.

“Practice was good,” said Mitchell, who has been out since April 16th with an ankle injury. “I got out there and competed. You can tell it was the first time in four or five weeks, but that’s to be expected.”

“He looked good,” added head coach Quin Snyder. “He looked fatigued at various times, but that’s something that he was aware of.”

As for his status for Game 1 of the playoffs against either Golden State or Memphis, Mitchell is planning on being out there.

“That’s the goal,” he said. “I’m going to try to go out there and be there for my teammates. Thankfully no pain, so that’s the good part. For me, it’s trying to stack these days on top of each other because it’s not like you can just play once and then take four days off. These games are going to start coming quickly.”

Mitchell isn’t sure how many minutes he will be able to play, but he is wary of going too hard, risking re-injury to his ankle.

“I don’t want to go out there full bore and then hurt it again,” Mitchell said. “But at the end of the day, it is the playoffs, you’ve got to go out there and compete and you’ve got to be ready. The biggest thing is trying to see how I respond after practice today, then the next practice. Then when you get to game one, it’s go time.”

Mitchell says he hasn’t been out this long since he was in 10th grade. But watching the last 16 games from the bench has taught him a lot about this team.

“Obviously we saw Bojan step up huge when me and Mike were out,” Mitchell said. “George was a big piece, Trent. Being able to sit on the sideline and kind of coach in a sense allows you to teach yourself. Because you’re kind of staying engaged and staying in the flow. I think we saw a lot of guys stepping up, and I think that will hopefully carry over into the playoffs.”

The Jazz will open the playoffs at Vivint Arena Sunday night at 7:30 against the winner of Friday’s play-in game between the Warriors and Grizzlies.

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