The Utah Jazz announced that All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell will miss Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday night. Mitchell hasn't suited up for the Jazz since April 16 and has since been sidelined with a sprained ankle. He previously said he was going to play in Game 1, but it appears he isn't healthy enough to go for the Jazz's playoff opener.
Mitchell being out certainly changes the dynamic for the top-seeded Jazz who are looking to make a deep run in the postseason. However, in the final 15 games of the regular season that he didn't play in, Utah managed to go 10-5 during his absence, as Sixth Man of the Year finalist Joe Ingles stepped in for the All-Star guard.
Prior to the game, Jazz coach Quin Snyder met with the media and confirmed that it was Utah's medical team that made the final call on holding Mitchell out of Game 1. Snyder added that the Jazz's All-Star guard was not happy about the decision after previously having declared himself ready to play.
Still, though, this Memphis team proved against the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament that they won't be an easy team to get past, and not having a dynamic scorer like Mitchell will certainly hinder the Jazz. Without him, Utah will now have to rely heavily upon its other offensive weapons in Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley to make up for the loss in production without Mitchell.
Mitchell practiced with the Jazz on May 20 for the first time since spraining his ankle, and when asked if he was going to play in Game 1 he said "that's the goal." However, a lot can change in a couple of days, especially coming back from injury, and it would be foolish for Utah to rush him back if he isn't going to be 100 percent. Hopefully, he'll return sooner rather than later for the Jazz, but for Game 1 they'll have to pull out a win without their franchise centerpiece.