Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell believed that he was ready to return from a high ankle sprain and play in Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies, but the Jazz made the decision to hold him out.
Head coach Quin Snyder acknowledged pregame that Mitchell wasn’t pleased with the decision, but it now sounds like Mitchell was even more displeased with the decision.
The 24-year-old was reportedly “incensed” at the late decision to scratch him from Sunday’s playoff opener, and it deepened tensions with the team regarding his recovery from a right ankle sprain, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim MacMahon.
Mitchell has been out since April 16, longer than it was originally anticipated.
Mitchell was expected to play, as he was not listed on the Jazz’s injury report Saturday or Sunday.
After shootaround, the Jazz training staff, who have the final say on player availability, recommended Mitchell remain on the inactive list.
The Jazz have a history of being cautious in managing player injuries, notes Windhorst and MacMahon.
Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune notes that he is hearing that there is a power struggle between Mitchell’s training staff and Jazz training staff over who gets to make the decisions on Mitchell’s recovery and availability.
As all the sides involved work to smooth things over this week, new part-owner Dwyane Wade is expected to play a role in that, as he and Mitchell are close.
Wade also has a long personal history of managing injuries, particularly in the postseason.
His experience and insight and respect from modern players was one of the reasons new Jazz owner Ryan Smith welcomed him as a partner, notes Windhorst and MacMahon.