Utah Jazz: Will Donovan Mitchell actually return in time for Game 1?

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell might be ready to play, but doubt remains.

There has still yet to be any official word of Donovan Mitchell definitely returning from injury for the start of the No. 1 seed Utah Jazz’s NBA Playoffs run, which will tip at some point on Sunday against a to-be-determined No. 8 seed.

Obviously, the “Donovan Mitchell question” is pivotal given the two-time All-Star’s MVP-esque displays leading up to his significant right low-ankle sprain on April 16 in a home victory over the Indiana Pacers. Sure, the squad has impressively pulled off a 10-6 record during his recovery, yet that’s a far cry from its winning percentage this season with the gifted playmaker on the court.

Now, also keep in mind that the Jazz may have to face either the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers or recent three-time champion Golden State Warriors in the first round. Ruh-roh.

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Well, according to a tweet from Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune, comedic veteran Joe Ingles — the fill-in starter for Mitchell across his 16-game absence — decided to stir in some humor on Wednesday in an apparent attempt to evade an inquiry about how the team’s top scorer has appeared as of late behind the scenes:

“[Mitchell] looks great — he’s a beautiful young man.”

Ingles then provided a more serious response:

“We’re excited to have him back. Whenever he’s healthy, we’ll have him back. That’s not for me to answer.”‘

Another Utah Jazz player’s assessment of the situation

Earlier in the week, following Utah’s 121-99 win on Sunday at the Sacramento Kings to secure the No. 1 seed and the league’s outright best overall record, All-Star guard Mike Conley had this to say about Donovan Mitchell’s eventual return to action:

“He’s the guy. He knows he’s the guy. He knows he’s gonna take us as far as we want to go when he’s healthy. And he’s getting there. He’s excited and feeling good…We’re going to do whatever we can to make it easy on him during the week to get him back in shape and get him back ready to go. I’m sure he’ll be as confident and ready as ever.”

Yes, Conley’s answer does sound a bit more promising than that of Joe Ingles. Still, though, the Utah Jazz Twitter account has been relatively mum in regard to the Donovan Mitchell topic this past week.

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The last official update came on May 11 when a tweet noted that the 24-year-old continues to make progress as the franchise plans to re-evaluate him prior to the start of the NBA Playoffs.