For nearly five weeks, the Utah Jazz battled through the end of the regular season without one of their best players. They secured the No. 1 seed and have been preparing for any possibility, waiting for good news to come from the medical staff.

The good news came Thursday when Donovan Mitchell was cleared to practice, and when asked if he’ll be ready to go for Game 1 of the playoffs, he gave the answer that everyone wanted to hear.

“That’s the goal,” he said. “Barring any setbacks ... knock on wood. That’s the goal.”

Mitchell hasn’t played since April 16, when he sprained his right ankle in a win over the Indiana Pacers. When he went down, he needed to be helped off the court by his teammates, and although he was reported to be in good spirits after the game, he said on Thursday that the injury was a bit more serious than some people might have thought.

Since then, Mitchell and the Jazz’s medical staff have been careful and deliberate with his treatment, cautious not to push him too much too quickly, knowing that delivering him to the playoffs as healthy as possible was a top priority.

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Mitchell said that he’s been progressing slowly for the past couple of weeks and although he felt the impact of not having played in a long time, he was pleased with how things turned out.

“Practice was good. I got out there, competed,” Mitchell said. “(The ankle) it’s definitely sore when you haven’t played in what, five weeks, for sure. But thankfully no pain so that’s the good part.”

There’s no certainty that Mitchell will be at 100% when the playoffs begin, and he noted there haven’t yet been conversations with the medical and training staff about whether his minutes will be restricted when the games begin.

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“I feel like I’m ready to play 48 (minutes), but at the end of the day you’ve got to be smart as well because you can go out there and re-injure,” he said. “You don’t want that either because then you’re out for an extended period of time.”

Between now and Sunday, the biggest focus for Mitchell will be conditioning and getting his wind back up in time for Game 1. 

“He looked good. He looked fatigued at various times, but I think that that was something that he was aware,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “The biggest thing is he’s out there, and there’s always going to be some cobwebs.”

The Jazz will find out after Friday night’s final play-in game whether they will be facing the Golden State Warriors or the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, which will kick off with Games 1 and 2 at Vivint Arena on Sunday and Wednesday, respectively.

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