Donovan Mitchell to miss two-game Utah Jazz trip with back injury

The all-star keeper needed to stretch in the locker room during Saturday’s game and has now been ruled out against Spurs and Blazers with low back strain.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz goalie Donovan Mitchell (45) sees his big NBA game between the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday 23 December 2021.

Donovan Mitchell will miss the Utah Jazz’s next two-game trip to San Antonio and Portland due to strain in his lower left back.

Mitchell apparently twisted his back at the start of Saturday night’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, and was seen walking down the tunnel to the team’s locker room with a few minutes left in the first quarter.

Jazz PR later noted that Mitchell had experienced “some tension in his lower back” and went to the locker room to get stretching treatment from the team’s coaching staff before returning. to action.

After the game, the All-Star goaltender described the injury as it occurred, but tried to downplay its severity.

“When I threw the pass at Mike [Conley], it’s just… I don’t really know how to describe the feeling, but it’s like when you can’t move, and you kind of have to stand up straight, ”Mitchell said. “But I made it work, and I dunked right after that, so it’s okay.”

He was substituted with 3 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the first quarter, and returned with 8:28 to go in the second – a stretch that mirrors his usual substitution pattern quite closely.

His aforementioned dunk arrived with 2:13 remaining in the first half, as a cross dribble opened a clear path to his left to the hoop, as he rose for a two-handed throw and swayed. momentarily on the rim.

Although Mitchell would have an inferior shooter (11 for 26 overall, 1 of 7 deep), he still went into the paint, winning 11 free throws en route to a 33-point high, to go along with three rebounds, three assists and three steals, while playing 34:39 – about a minute and a half ahead of his season average.

Still, the team announced on Sunday afternoon that its official injury designation for games against Spurs and Blazers would be “Out”, due to a “lower left back sprain”. They also noted that he would not be traveling with the team on the trip, choosing to stay in Salt Lake City to receive additional treatment.

Mitchell has appeared in 31 of the Jazz’s 32 games so far this season, missing just their eighth game of the season, in Atlanta on Nov. 4, with a sprained right ankle suffered two days earlier against the Kings.

He’s averaging 25.4 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game this season, while shooting 45.7 percent from the field. Jazz currently have the third-best record in the NBA, at 23-9.

Joe Ingles, averaging 8.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds, and shooting 39.0 percent from 3 points, will likely start in Mitchell’s place.

The Jazz, who have just completed a six-game home stint, will face the Spurs on Monday night and the Blazers on Wednesday.

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Margarita B. Bittner