SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As the Utah Jazz prepare to face the San Antonio Spurs tonight, they do so with the understanding that Donovan Mitchell will miss his tenth straight game with a sprained ankle.
The All-Star guard injured his ankle on April 16 against the Indiana Pacers and hasn’t seen the floor since. Though the Jazz are set to re-evaluate the injury at the end of the week, coach Quin Snyder indicated Mitchell is anxious to return to the floor.
“He’s competitive, he wants to be out there,” Snyder said. “But I think he also understands that it’s important for him to be in a good place, particularly at this point in the year.”
The Jazz have missed Mitchell over the last three weeks, seeing their 2.5 game lead over the Phoenix Suns evaporate into a half-game deficit with just seven games left to play in the season.
Even if Mitchell were to be cleared this weekend, he’d likely only have four games to get back into rhythm before the playoffs, three of which would be played on the road.
Though the Jazz haven’t given specific updates on how quickly Mitchell could return, Snyder did discuss the difficulty associated with not knowing exactly when the fourth-year guard could return.
“It’s not like breaking a bone or something like that where all of a sudden the bone is healed and you’re ready to go,” Snyder said.
Further complicating the issue, backcourt teammate Mike Conley will miss his fifth consecutive game for the Jazz after re-aggravating a hamstring injury suffered earlier in the season.
The Jazz have dealt with injuries before heading into the postseason, having lost Bojan Bogdanovic last year during the final eight games of the regular season and into the playoffs.
However, this is the first time the Jazz have been without their entire starting backcourt for an extended period of time. Despite their absence, Snyder thinks his team can continue to improve before the playoffs.
“As far as the team’s focus and preparation for what you want to do, I think we can still do some things that will help us,” Snyder said. “And then getting those guys back, hopefully be even better.”