Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell came off Saturday’s 132-106 loss in Game 3 to the LA Clippers with a sore right ankle, but the decision not to return was due to uneven scoring.
“I feel like I was able to come back, but there is no need to take a chance we were 16, 18 points down at that point,” Mitchell said. “I’ll be fine.”
A sprained right ankle sidelined Mitchell for the final 16 games of the regular season and the Jazz’s first game of the Playoffs.
Mitchell has averaged 32.3 points per game during the playoffs, including 30 points on 11 of 24 shots in Game 3, despite dealing with persistent ankle pain.
“It’s when I fall,” Mitchell said. “I’ve just been trying to handle it. I really don’t know what else to tell you; I don’t want to say too much. It was just the crash, but I’m fine. I’ll be ready for game 4.”
Mitchell limped off the court after a layup attempt with 7 minutes and 5 seconds to go. He briefly entered the tunnel before returning to Jazz’s bench.
With the score moving away from the Jazz, Mitchell had a conversation with coach Quin Snyder. He did not return to the game, although Utah medical personnel had cleared him to return.
“He’s in good shape,” Snyder said. “He could have gotten back into the game, but by that time, the lead had been stretched. In fact, while we were talking, I think Kawhi hit a 3-pointer. That was my decision not to put him back at that point. escaped at the time, but he’s fine. “
In the final moments of the game, Mitchell sat on the bench without his right shoe and with ice on his ankle.
“Obviously, it’s not going to be 100%, but I’m going to go out there and try to compete,” Mitchell said. “Things like this are going to happen. You just have to find ways to handle it and go out there and prepare. It’s not going to be perfect, but like this.”