Donovan Mitchell will miss Utah Jazz’s two-game road trip with back injury

The All-Star Security Guard had to stretch in the locker room during Saturday’s game and has now been disqualified against the Spurs and Blazers with a lower back strain.

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

Donovan Mitchell will miss the upcoming Utah Jazz road trip with two games to San Antonio and Portland due to lower left back strain.

Mitchell apparently pinched his back early that night in Saturday’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks and was seen walking down the tunnel to the team’s locker room in the first quarter.

Jazz PR then discovered that Mitchell was experiencing “some lower back tension” and went to the locker room to get a stretch from the team’s training staff before resuming activity.

After the game, the all-star security guard described the injury as it occurred but tried to downplay its severity.

“When I threw Mike the passport [Conley]”It’s just … I don’t really know how to describe the feeling, but it’s like you can’t move and you have to kind of stand up,” said Mitchell. “But I worked on it and I dipped right after it, so I’m fine.”

He was substituted 3 minutes 18 seconds behind in the first quarter and returned 8:28 in the second quarter – a stretch that pretty much mirrors his usual substitution pattern.

His previously mentioned dunk came with 2:13 remaining in the first half when a crossover dribble opened a clear path to his left to the hoop when he got up for a two-handed throw and swung briefly onto the edge.

Though Mitchell would have a sub-par shooting game (11 for 26 overall, 1 of 7 from deep), he consistently stepped into the paint and earned 11 free throws en route to a game high of 33 points, followed by three rebounds, three assists and three steals while playing 34:39 – about a minute and a half more than his season average.

Still, the team announced on Sunday that their official injury designation for the games against Spurs and Blazers was “Off” due to a “left lower back strain”. They also noted that he will not be traveling with the team for the trip and has chosen to stay in Salt Lake City for additional treatment.

Mitchell has played 31 of Jazz’s 32 games so far this season and only missed his eighth game of the season on November 4 in Atlanta because he sprained his right ankle two days earlier against the Kings.

He’s averaged 25.4 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game this season while shooting 45.7% out of the field. The 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 a 39.0% shoot from 3-point range is expected to start in Mitchell’s place.

Jazz, which has just played six games at home, will face the Spurs on Monday evening and the Blazers on Wednesday.

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