Following Sunday’s loss to the 8-seed Memphis Grizzlies, the Utah Jazz felt heavy scrutiny. Unfortunately, for the best team in the NBA, the smoke hasn’t settled. An ESPN report suggests a storm is coming from one of its star players, Donovan Mitchell, who is upset with the franchise.
Following a 37-day absence from NBA action due to an ankle sprain, Mitchell seemingly set to play against the Grizzlies last Sunday night. However, leading up to Sunday’s contest, Mitchell was scratched from the lineup.
“I’m ready to go. No pain, I’m excited to get going.” Mitchell assured the media Sunday.
During a 72-game condensed schedule, serious injuries cost franchises their best players for the duration of the season. Perhaps the Utah Jazz’s extremely cautious behavior stems from the numerous season-ending injuries.
However, with a playoff loss to the underdog Grizzlies, scratching a seemingly healthy player from the game merits question. Furthering the confusing injury report, Mitchell’s teammates’ comments didn’t make matters better.
Rudy Gobert, not one to stray from controversy, responded to Mitchell’s inactive Sunday night:
“I try to stay out of all of this, because it’s just going to give me a headache,” Gobert said. “Hopefully, he’s good for next game. That’s all I’m worried about.”
The Utah Jazz and majority ownership include former NBA star, Dwyane Wade. In his 18-year career, Wade experienced a plethora of serious injuries. Due to his workout regimen and change of playstyle, he weathered those injuries to prolong his playing career.
With Wade at such an influential position, perhaps Mitchell’s reported frustrations dissolve. However, until Mitchell suits up and the Jazz win, controversy will ensue.