Let’s make one thing abundantly clear, Donovan Mitchell absolutely loves the game of basketball. It’s not just his job, it’s his passion and his happy place. It’s part of the reason why he’s considered one of the best players in the game today, as the dedication and drive he plays with has led to greatness.

Unfortunately, Mitchell cannot always play the game that he loves.

While his teammates got ready to take on San Antonio on Monday night, Mitchell wasn’t with them. He wasn’t going through his pregame routine, chewing gum during the national anthem with his eyes closed and getting ready for his name to be announced in front of tens of thousands of fans.

Instead, Mitchell was like most Jazz fans that night. He was confined to his own dwelling, watching the game on TV and listening to some of the best broadcasters in the game in Craig Bolerjack and Holly Rowe — and he made sure they knew he was listening.

Mitchell couldn’t be in Texas with his teammates because he was home recovering from a lower left back strain suffered on Christmas night. While the injury isn’t deemed severe, four long plane rides in three days combined with two games and three different time zones, head coach Quin Snyder and the training staff thought it would be better if Mitchell stayed home to rest and recover.

So with his immediate fate decided for him, Mitchell turned on the TV and watched his team take down the Spurs 110-104 thanks to a stellar defensive effort.

Although he wasn’t there in person, Mitchell was there in spirit and made sure everyone knew it. Not the most active person on social media, Mitchell was alive and well on Twitter talking about the game while it was taking place.

He sent out a total of nine tweets regarding the game, all of which reflected his effervescent personality of laughing and joking around. From praising big-time plays by Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles to comically calling out Royce O’Neale for a weak dunk, Mitchell made sure to stay involved.

On Wednesday, Mitchell tuned in again as the Jazz took on Portland. Rather than being as active on social media as previous, Mitchell joined the AT&T Sports Network broadcast in the second quarter to discuss what it’s like not to play the game he loves and how he watches his teammates.

While it was a nice view into Mitchell’s mind, the biggest takeaway from his onscreen time was his passion and love, not just for the game of basketball but for his teammates. Rarely do people get a glimpse into an NBA star’s mind, but Mitchell embraced that opportunity and let those watching into his head.

That still didn’t stop Mitchell from tweeting out more of his thoughts about the game against the Blazers. From praising the returned athleticism of Rudy Gay and offering O’Neale a workout partner on leg day, Mitchell continued to be comical and enjoyable.

With the Jazz returning home for back-to-back games against Minnesota (Friday) and Golden State (Saturday), there’s a possibility Mitchell returns to the court in time to ring in the new year.

But even if he isn’t playing, it’s probably safe to say that Mitchell will still be providing plenty of entertainment — even if that entertainment includes questionable sports takes. Are there really still Mets fans outside of New York?


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