SALT LAKE CITY — As the Utah Jazz prepared for Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets Monday morning, the question of who would start in place of Mike Conley was the main item of conversation as media met with head coach Quin Snyder via Zoom. Conley left the NBA’s bubble in Orlando Sunday to be with his wife Mary, who gave birth to their third son in Ohio.
While Snyder didn’t initially say who would start in Conley’s place, the team later announced it would be rookie forward Juwan Morgan alongside Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert.
Although Snyder didn’t address Morgan directly, he did briefly discuss the increasing possibility that a seldom-used player or two could see at least relatively significant minutes in the playoff series.
“It’s OK to be a little nervous,” he said. “I think that can be a good thing, because it can make you urgent. That’s what we need.”
Just before Snyder arrived, the team said it is in regular contact with Conley about when he might return to the NBA’s bubble, but gave no specifics about when he might be back.
Per the NBA’s protocols in the bubble, if Conley tests negative for COVID-19 every day while gone, he would have to quarantine for four days upon returning to Orlando.
Like Ingles and Jordan Clarkson said Sunday when they met with media, Snyder noted that Conley is where he should be right now.
“I think our whole team right now wants Mike to be where he is, and I know he’s with us in mind and spirit, but his body needs to be with his baby and with Mary, and we’re thrilled that he’s able to experience that and look forward to him coming back soon,” Snyder said. “This is a great time for everybody to pull together.”