On the morning of Game 1 of the Utah Jazz’s first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Donovan Mitchell didn’t want to reveal too much information.
“Have there been any conversations with the medical staff about any restrictions that you might have tonight?” I asked Mitchell following Jazz shootaround.
“Just for a game planning purposes, I won’t say,” he said.
What Mitchell did say is that four days after returning to practice, and getting some run on the ankle that he sprained on April 16, he’s pleased with how he feels.
“There’s always going to be soreness when you come back from injury like this, always going to be things that haven’t been activated in, what has it been, five (weeks)? But I feel good. I’m ready to go tonight. No pain and excited to get going,” he said.
Mitchell missed the final 16 games of the regular season, but in the six games preceding the injury, he averaged 34.3 points per game. However, Mitchell pointed to a larger stretch, from the All-Star break to when he was sidelined in April, as a turning point when things started to click in a different way.
“The biggest thing for me was just picking my spots, coming out aggressive, not being tentative, understanding what the defense is giving you, understand what’s going to be there, and finding my teammates, but also finding lanes for myself,” Mitchell said. “I think that was one thing I started to feel, really after the All-Star break. Just being comfortable in that sense and just kind of finding where to go and how to manipulate the game.”
After the All-Star break, Mitchell averaged 29.6 points and 4.9 assists per game while shooting 39.4% from 3-point range.
The Jazz will host the Grizzlies at Vivint Arena for Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. MDT on TNT.