Ready for the NBA Playoffs?
So is Donovan Mitchell.
After missing more than a month with a badly sprained right ankle, the Utah Jazz’s All-Star guard says he will play in tonight’s Game 1 matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I’m ready to go tonight,” Mitchell said after the team’s morning shootaround. “No pain. I’m excited to get going.”
Mitchell sprained his ankle in mid-April and was cleared for his first full practice on Thursday. Mitchell said he wanted to string together a few good days of practice for peace of mind heading into the postseason. On Sunday, Mitchell said he felt fine.
“There’s always going to be soreness when you come back from an injury like this,” he said. “There are things that haven’t been activated in five weeks, but I feel good.”
That soreness will likely fade when Mitchell hears the roar of 13,000 fans at Vivint Arena tonight.
“In that playoff atmosphere, you have that adrenaline,” he said.
The Jazz swept the regular-season series with Memphis, winning three games against the Grizzlies in a span of six days in March.
“We’re throwing away what happened a few months ago,” Mitchell said. “You throw those games out. You can take things from it, but the team they were and we were are two different things now. … They’re rolling right now. They’ve got a bunch of things going their way.”
With Mitchell’s return, the Jazz have a bunch of things going their way too. Mitchell averaged a career-best 26.4 points per game this season and was averaging 30 points (including four games of at least 40 points) in April before his injury.
“The biggest thing for me is just picking my spots. Coming out aggressive. Not being tentative,” he said. “… I’m not saying I’ll go out there and have 40 tonight, but I want to go out there and do the same thing, have the same mindset.”