The Utah Jazz’s quest for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs potentially just got a big boost.
While Donovan Mitchell has already been ruled out for the team’s remaining two regular-season games, his fellow All-Star guard, Mike Conley, announced his return to action Friday morning.
Conley met with the media following Friday’s shootaround for the first time since tweaking his hamstring against the Minnesota Timberwolves back on April 26, and said he intends to play in the Jazz’s final two games — including tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“There’s no better way of getting yourself back into a rhythm and back into game shape than playing a game. You can’t really mimic that in practice,” Conley said. “… So I think the best thing for me, as far as where my hamstring is at and how it feels at this moment — being great at this moment — I feel like it’s the perfect time for me to get some time to run up and down the court, get acclimated with the team again, get my legs under me, conditioning, and use that as almost as another step in the progression of returning to playoff ball.”
The veteran point guard said he expects to be on a minutes restriction tonight against the Thunder and Sunday vs. the Kings, but doesn’t how exactly how long he’ll play.
He said the injury occurred in the final 45 seconds of that loss to the Wolves, but he opted to play the final few possessions and then have the team’s health and performance staff check him out postgame.
He said a decision was subsequently made to “shut it down for a little bit,” and that the past few weeks have seen him working on strengthening and conditioning his hamstring via running and weight-lifting “to get the body right for what’s ahead for me and the team.”
The Jazz remain one game ahead of the Phoenix Suns for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and for the best overall record in the NBA.