Oklahoma City • After taking a shot to the head on Monday, Thabo Sefolosha didn’t ask to be subbed out. Coach Quin Snyder, who didn’t see the injury unfold, didn’t sub him out either.
It was a rare case of benching by referee: Ben Taylor, one of the officials for the Jazz-Wizards game, told Sefolosha to take a seat and undergo concussion protocol.
Sefolosha looked surprised to be benched, and Snyder later acknowledged he was surprised at the time. The decision meant Sefolosha had to undergo both team and NBA concussion protocol before he could play on Tuesday night. Even an hour before tipoff against the Thunder, the Jazz didn’t know if Sefolosha would be available.
But it wasn’t an inconvenience, Snyder said. He was grateful to Taylor for making the call.
“That’s an important part of the game — it’s good that the league is taking it seriously,” Snyder said. “Ben Taylor is a heck of a ref. He saw something, and a player’s welfare comes first. That’s how we feel about it.”
Sefolosha did clear league protocol before tipoff and played against the Thunder — critical given Oklahoma City’s dangerous perimeter scorers.
In other injury news, Rodney Hood missed his fourth straight game with ankle soreness. Raul Neto missed Tuesday’s game with right foot soreness.
Donovan compliments Donovan
While Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell looms larger on the scouting report than in October when the Thunder last played him, coach Billy Donovan wasn’t surprised.
“We’ve always had respect for him,” he said pregame.
That respect stems to when Mitchell was in high school and Donovan was coaching in college at Florida. The Gators took a look at Mitchell, who then was a blossoming star.
In Donovan’s opinion then, Mitchell was going to be a big-time player. Since then, that initial judgement has borne out: Mitchell entered the game as Utah’s leading scorer over the team’s six-game winning streak.
“Donovan Mitchell has the ‘it’ factor for me,” Donovan said. “I’ve always felt that way about him.”
Dante Exum spent the day out of his sling for the first time since his surgery on his left shoulder six weeks ago. The Jazz have not announced whether the fourth-year guard will miss the season, but his recovery is expected to take 2-3 more months. … The Thunder are playing their next game against Brooklyn in Mexico City on Thursday, one of two games the NBA is playing in Mexico City and one of four international games this season.