Wednesday, May 18 2022
Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz
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The Utah Jazz have struggled through a stretch of brutal injuries in recent weeks. Some of those injuries aren’t going to get any better. Joe Ingles is out for the season with a torn ACL, but the rest of the roster appears to be on the mend. Donovan Mitchell has cleared the NBA‘s concussion protocol and is set to return, the team revealed, and Rudy Gobert, dealing with a calf injury, hopes to return early next week according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon

Gobert has missed 10 of Utah’s past 15 games, and the Jazz have lost eight of those games without him. Utah’s defense in particular, schematically built around the idea that Gobert can singlehandedly protect the rim, has suffered immensely without him. Utah’s defense has allowed 8.6 more points per 100 possessions in minutes Gobert has sat this season, and while Hassan Whiteside has played admirably in his stead, Utah has no dependable centers after him. 

Mitchell has missed Utah’s past eight games, the last five of which have overlapped with Gobert’s absence. The Jazz have only won a single game, against a Nuggets team missing Nikola Jokic, without the pair of them. Mitchell is having yet another All-Star season, and Utah depends on him to generate the bulk of their shots. 

The 31-21 Jazz have slipped to fourth place in the Western Conference in large part due to those injuries, but with Mitchell and Gobert getting healthier, Utah should be able to find some footing after the All-Star break. Losing Ingles for the season is a major blow, but the Jazz are significantly better than they’ve looked over the past few weeks, and they’ll soon have a chance to prove it. 



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