Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell exited Saturday’s 132-106 Game 3 loss to the LA Clippers because of pain in his right ankle, but the decision for him not to return was due to the lopsided score.
“I feel like I was able to go back, but no need to risk it down 16, 18 at that point,” Mitchell said. “I’ll be fine.”
A right ankle sprain sidelined Mitchell for the final 16 games of the regular season and the Jazz’s playoff opener, when he was angered by the Utah medical staff’s decision to make him a late scratch.
Mitchell has averaged 32.3 points per game during the playoffs, including 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting in Game 3, despite dealing with persistent pain in the ankle.
“It’s when I land,” Mitchell said. “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.”
Mitchell limped off the court after a driving layup attempt with 7 minutes, 5 seconds remaining. He briefly went into the tunnel before returning to the Jazz bench.
With the game slipping away from the Jazz, Mitchell had a conversation with coach Quin Snyder. He did not return to the game, although the Utah medical staff had cleared him to return.
“He’s in good shape,” Snyder said. “He could have gone back in the game, but at that point, the lead had stretched. In fact, while we were talking, I think Kawhi 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.”
In the final moments of the game, Mitchell sat on the bench with his right shoe off and ice on the ankle.
“Obviously, it’s not going to be 100 percent, but you go out there and you try to compete,” Mitchell said. “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.”