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#pounditFriday, October 15, 2021

Donovan Mitchell

Jazz players were shocked to learn Donovan Mitchell was not playing

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell did not play in the Utah Jazz’s 112-109 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their playoff series on Sunday, and that left his teammates surprised.

Mitchell has not played since spraining his ankle on April 16. There was no indication that he would miss Game 1 of their playoff series though.

So when it was announced on Sunday that Mitchell would not be playing, some of his teammates couldn’t believe it.

Center Rudy Gobert called news of Mitchell’s absence a “big surprise.”

Bojan Bogdanovic said he didn’t know what happened that led Mitchell to miss the game.

The Jazz missed not having their star player and lost the game. They entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the West, and now they trail in their playoff series 1-0 to Memphis.

Donovan Mitchell not ready to return for Jazz playoff opener

Donovan Mitchell

The Utah Jazz were hopeful that Donovan Mitchell would be back for Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series against Memphis, but that won’t be happening.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday that Mitchell is not expected to play in Game 1, but is still “working toward his return.”

Mitchell should probably be considered day-to-day at this point. He wasn’t even on the most recent injury report, leading most to think he was ready to make his return, but that’s evidently not the case.

The star guard hasn’t played since April 16 with a sprained right ankle. The Jazz secured the top seed in the West without him, and ideally they’ll only have to go without him for another game or two as he pushes toward a return.

Donovan Mitchell appears to avoid serious ankle injury after MRI

Donovan Mitchell injury

The Utah Jazz got fairly good news on guard Donovan Mitchell’s ankle injury after getting a serious scare on Friday.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, an MRI on Mitchell’s right ankle sprain revealed no structural damage. The guard is expected to miss several games, but also seems to have avoided a major injury.

This will come as a massive relief to the Jazz, who must have feared worse after seeing Mitchell helped off the court during Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. It sounds like he won’t miss much of the playoffs, if at all.

Mitchell has been in dominant form of late for Utah. Since the All-Star break, he is averaging 29.6 points per game, with four 40-point games during that span.

Donovan Mitchell helped off floor after suffering ankle injury

Donovan Mitchell injury

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell suffered an ugly-looking injury during Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.

Mitchell suffered an awkward fall while trying to defend a pass during the third quarter of the game and had to be helped off the floor by teammates. He appeared to get tangled up with Indiana’s Edmond Sumner as he was landing, and seemed to turn his ankle.

Mitchell has been outstanding all season, but particularly recently. He is averaging a career-best 26.5 points and 5.3 assists per game on the year.

The Jazz boast the best record in the NBA at 41-14. Losing Mitchell for any significant period of time, especially with the playoffs looming in a few weeks, would be a massive blow.

Donovan Mitchell has great response to LeBron James’ Jazz comment

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell is tired of answering questions about the lack of respect the Utah Jazz are getting nationally.

Utah’s reputation has been a talking point of late, fueled in part by comments made by LeBron James during the All-Star draft about why the Jazz don’t get the attention and respect their 27-9 record would seemingly command. Mitchell reacted to that comment, making clear that he and his teammates aren’t seeking James’ approval — or anyone else’s.

Mitchell and the Jazz aren’t really desperate for attention. One thing he and his teammates are really after is to be treated and acknowledged like bigger market teams.

The best way Mitchell and the Jazz can deal with their critics is to keep winning. They seem to know that, and aren’t really in the mood to try to gain press any other way.

Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert livid with officials after Jazz’s loss

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were livid with the officials after their Utah Jazz lost 131-123 in overtime to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Mitchell was ejected from the game late in OT after continuing to complain to officials.

He said after the loss that the game was “taken from us” and that the officiating was “getting out of hand.” Mitchell used some profanity in his postgame message about the refs.

Mitchell later showed an example on Twitter of a call he couldn’t believe.

Gobert shared a similar sentiment. The Jazz center said he felt “disrespected” by the officials. He said dealing with unfavorable officiating is a consequence of playing for a small-market team. He similarly used a curse word in his postgame comments.

Gobert even said he hoped the officials felt shame when they reviewed the game.

The sort of sentiment is nothing new for Gobert, who has complained about the officials in the past.

Utah governor throws shade at Shaq over Donovan Mitchell criticism

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is now taking shots from elected state officials.

The retired Hall of Famer and current TNT analyst responded this week to the backlash from his critical comments about Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell. O’Neal said that he was only giving Mitchell constructive criticism and motivation. He also added a “You’re welcome, Utah,” for good measure.

Utah governor Spencer Cox then responded to O’Neal’s remarks in a tweet. Cox sarcastically said that he would criticize O’Neal for being a bad TV commentator in the hopes that O’Neal would get better.

O’Neal’s comments about Mitchell seemed hardly good-natured at the time. They also drew swift condemnation from some of Mitchell’s NBA peers.

Now O’Neal can be certain that he has offended the entire state of Utah by dissing Mitchell, including their highest-ranking government official.

Ricky Rubio calls out Shaq for ‘hating’ on Donovan Mitchell

Shaquille O'Neal

Ricky Rubio is standing up for one of his former teammates.

The Utah Jazz defeated the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday by a 129-118 final. After the contest, Donovan Mitchell gave an interview to TNT’s “Inside the NBA” and received a criticism from Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal claimed that Mitchell does not have “what it takes to get to the next level.”

Rubio tweeted his thoughts about O’Neal’s comment on Friday.

“Come on. Stop hating,” wrote Rubio. “He HAS it. Just go and watch his first playoff series as a rookie. Game 6. Last year playoff etc… hard worker, never says anything wrong, all heart, elite scorer, humble, great teammate and he just keeps getting better year after year.”

Rubio and Mitchell were teammates on the Jazz for two seasons from 2017 to 2019. The team reached the 48-win plateau and earned a top-five seed in the Western Conference in both years. The Jazz have also been a playoff team in every single season since Mitchell, still only 24, was drafted.

Granted, O’Neal is known for taking very petty shots at today’s stars. But his act certainly seems to be wearing thin among the league’s current players.

Video: Shaq, Donovan Mitchell share awkward exchange

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq and Donovan Mitchell shared an awkward exchange after the Utah Jazz’s 129-118 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night.

Mitchell had 36 points, seven rebounds and five assists in his team’s win. He was interviewed by TNT after the game.

Shaq admitted to Mitchell that he was a big fan, but he said Mitchell doesn’t have what it takes to get to the next level. Mitchell responded very quietly to Shaq’s point.

O’Neal was very clearly trying to motivate Mitchell, but the effort seemed to fall flat.

If Mitchell wants motivation, it might come from Charles Barkley, who said he expects Mitchell to have more rebounds and assists than he does. Of course, go back and read what Mitchell said in 2018 that he wanted to improve, and it won’t surprise you.

Donovan Mitchell responds to Utah company dumping Jazz suite over kneeling, BLM support

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell responded on Thursday to a Utah company’s decision to cancel its suite at Jazz games.

Salt Lake County-based SME Steel Contractors sent a letter to Jazz owner Gail Miller on Sept. 9 announcing its decision to cancel its suite at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The company began licensing a suite annually since 1992 and estimates it has spent $6 million on suites over the years.

The company is upset with the way the NBA, its teams, and its players have politicized the sport. They took issue with players and coaches kneeling during the national anthem, as well as messages around courts supporting the Black Lives Matter political organization.

“The recent actions of the NBA — including the owners, coaches and players of the Utah Jazz — have converted a beloved entertainment venue into a forum for dissemination of political propaganda which is divisive and completely out of step with our company and its values,” they said in their letter.

The company acknowledges that teams and players are free to express their views, but says there may be consequences, such as the company’s response.

“They cannot, however, force paying customers, to be subjected to their ostentatious acts of disrespect for our country and its values, without any consequences.”

The company said it would not keep its suite until Black Lives Matter logos are removed from the arena and kneeling during the national anthem is stopped.

Mitchell, who is the team’s young, star player, responded on Twitter Thursday. He said the company had the right to cancel its suite, while he and his fellow players have the right to kneel for the anthem.

Mitchell is incorrect about having a constitutionally-protected right to kneel in the workplace. The U.S. Constitution’s free speech rights do not apply to workers in the workplace, though the NBA is allowing (and arguably encouraging) him and other players to do so.

Mitchell was one of the stars of the bubble even though the Jazz lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Denver Nuggets. The 24-year-old averaged a career-high 24 points per game this season and made his first All-Star team.