Donovan Mitchell sat on the bench for the final seven minutes of Saturday’s Game 3 loss to the Clippers icing his right ankle, but the Jazz star says he would have continued playing if the score had been closer.
“I feel like I was able to go back, but no need to risk it down 16, 18 [points] at that point. I’ll be fine,” Mitchell said after the Clippers’ 132-106 victory halved Utah’s lead to 2-1 in the second-round series. “Obviously, it’s not going to be 100 percent, but you go out there and you try to compete.
“Things like this are going to happen. You just got to find ways to manage it and get out there and get ready. It’s not going to be perfect, but it is what it is.”
The 24-year-old Mitchell missed the final 16 games of the regular season with a sprained right ankle, and he was unhappy when he was scratched from the playoff opener against Memphis. He has averaged 32.3 points per game since returning to the lineup in Game 2 against the Grizzlies, scoring 30 in 32 minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Clippers. But he hobbled off the court after making a layup with 7:05 remaining and did not return.
“It’s when I land,” Mitchell said of his ankle. “It’s been just trying to manage it. I don’t really know what else to tell you; I don’t want to say too much. It was just the landing, but I’m good. I’ll be ready for Game 4.”
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said it was his decision to hold Mitchell out for the remainder of the game.
“He’s in good shape,” Snyder said. “He could have gone back in…but at that point, the lead had stretched. In fact, while we were talking, I think Kawhi [Leonard’ hit a 3. That was my decision not to put him back in at that point. The game had gotten away from us at that point, but he’s fine.”