LOS ANGELES — When Donovan Mitchell limped off the floor with just more than seven minutes left in the game Saturday, it was the scariest kind of injury because there was no contact, no obvious cause. He had tweaked his right ankle the game before, but what happened this time?
“It’s when I land. It’s been just trying to manage it,” Mitchell said of his ankle. “I don’t really know what else to tell you. I don’t want to say too much. So, yeah, it was just the landing.
“But I’m good. I’ll be ready for Game 4.”
Coach Quin Snyder echoed those comments.
“He’s in good shape,” Snyder said. “He could have gone back in the game, but at that point the lead had stretched… That was my decision to not put him back in at that point. The game had gotten away from us at that point. But he’s fine.”
Game 4 is Monday night at Staples Center.
Mitchell had adjusted to the Clippers’ more aggressive switching and trapping defense in the second half Saturday and was getting downhill and to the rim in the second half, putting up 30 points for the game.
Then came the play where he aggravated the ankle coming down after going up for a rebound. Mitchell limped straight to the locker room but then returned to the bench a couple of minutes later. He walked straight up, put his arm around coach Snyder and the two spoke, but while they talked Kawhi Leonard drained a three to make it an 18-point Clipper lead with less than five minutes to play.
At that point, the pair decided the risk of him going back in was not worth it in a game where a comeback was next to impossible. The Clippers went on to get the win and make it a 2-1 series.
Expect Mitchell to be out there for Game 4.
“I’m good. That’s all I got for you. I’m good,” Mitchell said. “It happened, the situation happened. I feel like I was able to go back, but no need to risk it down 16, 18 at that point. So I’ll be fine.”
The question for Game 4 is will Mike Conley be back with him? Conley missed his third straight game this series with a strained hamstring, an injury suffered at the end of the first-round series against Memphis.