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Donovan Mitchell out for Jazz’s playoff opener

Michael Holley says that the road through the Western Conference during the 2021 NBA Playoffs is the "toughest top to bottom" he's ever seen.

Donovan Mitchell missed the final 16 games of the regular season due to a sprained ankle, and now he is going to be out for the start of the playoffs as well.

Mitchell had been working his way back and had hoped to be ready for a return for Game 1 of the first round Sunday against the Grizzlies, but it appears that will be game 17 in a row missed, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and soon after confirmed by the team.

Utah went 10-6 after Mitchell went down, with a league-best +11.4 net rating and a top 10 offense and defense — the Jazz kept winning without him.

Mitchell averaged 26.4 points and 5.2 assists a game this season, shooting 38.6% from 3, and was an All-Star this season.

The Jazz style still favors them against the Grizzlies — Ja Morant creates by driving and kicking out, but with Rudy Gobert back that’s a challenge — but it will be more difficult to create offense without Mitchell.