Donovan Mitchell Miffed Jazz Sat Him Out Of Playoff Loss To Grizzlies

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Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was “frustrated and upset” by the team’s decision to hold him out of Game 1, leading to a 109-112 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Sunday’s playoff opener.

Mitchell was expected to play throughout the weekend, RealGM Wiretap reports. He was not listed on the Jazz’s injury report Saturday or early Sunday.

The All-Star, who averaged career bests of 26.4 points and 5.2 assists per game this season, spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s game, anticipating he would take the court but never did.

“I’m ready to go,” Mitchell said to reporters Sunday morning. “No pain. I’m excited to get going.”

He has been out due to a sprained right ankle since April 16, longer than initially expected, and ESPN reports that the surprising decision to hold him out of Game 1 deepened tensions within the team regarding his recovery.

“For me, for my team, I was definitely frustrated and upset that I wasn’t able to play,” Mitchell said. “I’m a competitor. I felt I was ready to go. I felt ready to go, and unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. That was not how it happened. I was ready to go when I spoke [to media after Sunday’s shootaround], and they came to the decision that that’s what it was.”

“The biggest thing is I felt like I should have played,” said Mitchell, adding that he didn’t suffer any setback to influence the medical staff’s decision, per ESPN. “To be honest with you, it’s no secret. We all know that. At the end of the day, the experts said no. We can disagree on those things, but that was the frustration.”

Mitchell had been practicing in the three days leading up to the Western Conference first-round opener and said he’s talked to his team since the loss, but he still feels like he let the team down.

“It was unfair to my team. I felt like, man, I let them down in the sense that you’re not there for them in a playoff game,” he said. “That probably hurts me more than anything else. It eats me. I barely slept because you think about that stuff. So that was really where it hit me, where it hurt.”

Mitchell practiced Monday, and the team announced immediately afterward that he would be available Wednesday when Utah attempts to even the series with the No. 8 seed Grizzlies.

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Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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