Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell felt better than he anticipated he would in his return to the floor. Mitchell, who had been sidelined since April 16 due to a right ankle sprain, returned to the floor on Wednesday night in Game 2 of the first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mitchell scored 25 points in 26 minutes of action as the Jazz beat the Grizzlies 141-129 to even the series at 1-1. "I feel good," Mitchell said after the game, which tied the series 1-1. "I've put myself in kind of treacherous situations to come back and be ready for playoff intensity.
I felt better than I anticipated, and as a whole, I think the biggest thing as a team is we did a lot of good things tonight ... so it made my job easier. I didn't have to come in and just do everything. I was able to find my spots and attack.
And kind of just do what I do. And my teammates made it really easy for me."
Mitchell praised by Jazz head coach
"Any time you've been out for a significant period of time, I think there's a tendency to try to really put a stamp on the game," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
"And I thought he really let the game come to him. He was patient. He got a few catch-and-shoot 3s early where he got good looks, got off the ball and kind of made a simple play. And then I think as the game went on, you saw him attacking the basket, but he really played within himself.
I thought he just made the right play and obviously it was good to have him back. It certainly changes our team." Mitchell admitted that it will take him time to trust his ankle on the floor again. "I'm not going to sugarcoat that," Mitchell said of the mental aspect of the injury.
"There's definitely a thought. You haven't been in this position in five weeks. And just kind of going out there and everything you've been doing has been controlled. It's been controlled throughout the workouts, so to kind of go out there in the middle of the playoffs and then try and compete, I think there's definitely a bit of nerves.
... It's just basketball, but jumping off the foot for the first time that hard, landing, cutting those are the things you definitely think about, but once you get through the first two, it's like 'All right, I'm good.' You trust it, and I was fine."