Thursday, August 18

Donovan Mitchell could return this weekend, but Rudy Gobert’s status is more doubtful

The shooting guard has missed the Utah Jazz’s past five games due to a concussion, while the center suffered a calf strain late in Sunday’s loss to the Warriors.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) is introduced before the start of the game alongside Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) before their game against Sacramento Kings, basketball of the NBA in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. , November 2, 2021.

ESPN probably wasn’t all that thrilled to find out that Wednesday’s nationally televised matchup between the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz would be without the two best players on the home team.

Then again, the network’s ratings concerns aren’t even in the same universe as Jazz fans’ existential angst over the struggles their team has been enduring with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert sidelined by concussion. stroke and a left calf strain, respectively.

The good news is that Mitchell could be back this weekend.

The fifth-year shooting guard is said to be making good progress, and while he has another step or two to comply with the NBA’s concussion protocol, there’s a distinct possibility he could appear on the Jazz’s upcoming two-game road trip. in Memphis on Friday and in Minnesota on Sunday.

Mitchell took a hit to the head late in the first half of the Jan. 17 game against the Lakers, but didn’t show any symptoms until the game was over.

His return will be very welcome for a Jazz team that has missed his sheer scoring ability and shot creation.

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As for the great man, the news is decidedly more anticipated.

After getting hurt late in the game against the Warriors, he likened the feeling to “a slow tear,” ending up sitting out the final 2 minutes and 30 seconds of what ended up being a two-point loss. He later acknowledged that while he didn’t consider the injury serious, he and the team would probably “be cautious” about it.

That is precisely the plan.

Gobert missed both of the Jazz’s games against Phoenix, and is likely to miss several more games at the very least, though even that isn’t definitive.

While your injury is, as you suspected, ultimately relatively minor, calf strains are notoriously fickle in terms of projected recovery time. And so the Jazz will designate him day-to-day in the interim, with the understanding that after some rest and rehab, he could be ready to return relatively quickly or, alternatively, could last until a little longer. few weeks.

As a result, the team will not put a specific timeline on his projected return.

Rather, expect the Jazz to proceed patiently and conservatively and not rush him back, for fear of aggravating the injury.

That will be a tough question, considering how badly Utah’s defense fell apart when Gobert missed a five-game stretch in early January after testing positive for COVID-19 and entering the league’s health and safety protocol.

Another player to watch out for is veteran flanker Danuel House.

His second 10-day deal with the Jazz is set to expire Thursday, and it remains to be seen what his long-term fit with the team will be.

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It is said that he made a good impression within the organization with both his energy and his ability to quickly acclimate to coach Quin Snyder’s scheme. After Monday’s loss in Phoenix, Snyder praised him simply for being willing to play hard. House, in turn, was effusive in his praise for the coach and the organization, noting that they go above and beyond to put players in a position to succeed.

While teams have historically had to decide on the future of players 10 days after two such contracts, this season is a bit of an aberration in that some of those deals were specifically designated “hardship” contracts to help to teams facing significant absences due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Since House’s first contract with the Jazz was difficult, they could technically sign him to another standard 10-day deal before having to decide if they want to sign him for the rest of the season. While the Jazz could certainly make use of wider, more interchangeable 3- and D-wings, the upcoming trade deadline will likely be defining for his future.

Going into Wednesday’s game, House was averaging 6.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists on 44% shooting and 33.3% 3-point shooting in 21.6 minutes per game.

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