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Donovan Mitchell ‘felt better than anticipated’ after returning from ankle injury in Game 2

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) cheers after being fouled on a 3-point attempt as the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies play Game 2 of their NBA playoffs first round series at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Courtesy: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell says he ‘felt better than anticipated’ after returning from his ankle injury to play 26 minutes in Game 2 of the NBA Playoffs.

There was some controversy around him missing Game 1 with the All-Star feeling he was ready to go, but also admitted to having the jitters prior to him playing Wednesday.

“There’s definitely a bit of nerves. … Jumping off the foot for the first time that hard in five weeks, landing, cutting,” Mitchell said. “Those are the things that you definitely think about.”

He seemed to shrug it off quickly as he finished with 25 points on 8-19 shooting and 5-10 from the three point line with 12 of those points coming in the first quarter. He also helped get Grizzlies shooting guard Dillon Brooks in early foul trouble.

“I feel good,” Mitchell said. “I have put myself in kind of treacherous situations to come back to be ready for playoff intensity.”

Getting back into form

The two-time All-Star came down on his ankle in the fourth quarter and so the team sent him to the locker room to be evaluated. He says there was nothing to worry about on the hard landing though.

“I just haven’t played in five weeks, all my stuff I’ve been doing to keep the ankles warm,” Mitchell said. “Every workout, there’s always a time where you warm up, there’s never a time you’re sitting and come back in.”

He didn’t say whether or not his minutes may increase, but he says him and the team will likely just play it by ear.

“I won’t come out and say I expect to play 35,” Mitchell said. “I think the biggest thing is how the game goes, how I’m feeling. I’m trusting my body. It’s a marathon not a sprint.”

The Jazz will hit the road to play in Memphis on Saturday for Game 3 of its first round series in the NBA Playoffs. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM.