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Donovan Mitchell sustains, plays through ankle injury in loss to Mavericks

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter and Mitchell stayed in the game until it was clear the Jazz weren’t going to get the win.

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Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives against Dallas Mavericks forward Reggie Bullock (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Sunday, March 27, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero)


DALLAS — We’ve seen this movie before.

Donovan Mitchell gets hurt. Donovan Mitchell is too competitive to sit on the sidelines. Donovan Mitchell gets back in the game and can’t help his team in the way that he really wants to because he is hurt.

The last time this happened, it was the playoffs last season and Mitchell wanted to come back from his right ankle sprain to play, which is incredibly understandable, to be perfectly honest.

But we saw what happened.

He wasn’t ready and he was in pain all throughout the second round, and although he performed admirably and often was amazing in the postseason, he wasn’t himself and he was hampered by the injury.

On Sunday night in Dallas, Dwight Powell came down on Mitchell’s ankle midway through the third quarter. Mitchell was momentarily sidelined but he didn’t want to come out of the game.

Mitchell and Jazz head coach Quin Snyder had a prolonged discussion following his injury and Mitchell said that even if he couldn’t play as athletically as he usually does, he still felt like he could be useful.

“This was a big game. Any competitor wants to be in there for his teammates,” Mitchel said after the 114-100 loss to the Mavericks.

“They were helping off of everybody on my drives and I was getting them shots... so at first I told him to just leave me out there and I’ll stay spaced or let the eyes look at me then I’ll get somebody a shot.”

Mitchell ended up playing a little over seven more minutes in two different stints until Snyder finally pulled him in the fourth quarter after the Mavs were leading by as many as 19.

The decision to go back in the game pretty much came down to what Mitchell wanted. That’s what usually happens with most players, as Mike Conley pointed out.

On off days and before games when the trainers and team doctors are more involved, the decisions can be made despite what a player might want, but in a game, there is a lot of trust in the player doing what is best for them.

“I talked to Don immediately, kind of checking in and seeing where he was at,” Conley said. “I know how important this game was for Don and our team in general, so no matter what happened, he was going to go back out there and play.

“We all kind of felt that way. We don’t him to risk anything, obviously, if it was just too much, but he felt capable of playing.”

So Snyder trusted Mitchell’s judgement and then took him out when it was clear the game was out of reach.

But moving forward, the Jazz need for Mitchell to not only do what he wants to do as a competitor, but what is best for the team.

“We’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” Mitchell said. “Right now it’s sore, I’m not going to lie to you, but with how significant tonight was, I wasn’t going to allow it to hold me back.”