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With Mike Conley still out, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder says Donovan Mitchell’s other teammates must share the load

With a hamstring strain sidelining Conley for a fourth straight game, Mitchell has had to take on both the lead scoring and lead play-making roles.

Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder shouts to his team during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

With Mike Conley being ruled out for a fourth consecutive game, and Donovan Mitchell again having to double up his roles as both lead scorer and primary initiator for the Utah Jazz as a result, the question put to coach Quin Snyder in his pregame media availability was pretty straightforward:

Is there any concern about Mitchell wearing down due to carrying such a big load?

“Well, I’m not going to have Rudy [Gobert] bring it up right now,” Snyder initially quipped.

Jokes aside, he conceded the query had merit, and acknowledged that “we’re asking him to do a lot right now.”

Snyder added that while other players are capable of doing some of what Mitchell does, and that he has confidence in their capacity to do it, Mitchell is unique given his ability to handle being the focal point of opposing defenses, and still being able to score at all three levels while remaining a quality distributor, too.

That said, it would still be ideal for Mitchell’s teammates to be able to take some of the load off of him. Because the Jazz aren’t changing how they play, they just have to adapt who is making things happen.

“We just have to really play as a group and a team so that that responsibility gets spread among the team,” he said.

Meanwhile, as that question was predicated upon Conley’s absence, it was predictable that a follow-up question would come from a national reporter inquiring as to the point guard’s progress in his recovery from a hamstring strain.

Equally predictable was Snyder’s non-answer.

“Well, you know, I think he’s making progress. As far as the exact position of where he is in that process, that is a day-to-day thing. And I don’t comment on the status of any individual player or any individual injury,” Snyder said. “We all know he wants to be back there quickly, and that’s the place that we’re working towards. Obviously, all the guys on the team want him back, and we know how he impacts our team. When you’re playing without your point guard, it impacts everybody. But that’s also something that our guys have dealt with, and it’s a challenge to take on, and it’s the next-man-up mentality. And we have confidence in our group, as well. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing and keep competing and hopefully Mike can get back and help us there.”

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Mike Conley ruled out of Utah Jazz’s Game 4 vs. Clippers on Monday

Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley has been officially ruled out of the team’s Monday matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

Conley suffered a mild right hamstring strain in the first quarter of the Jazz’s closeout victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. He was ruled out from a return at halftime of that game, and has not played since.

Conley has been officially “questionable” to play on the team’s injury report ahead of each game thus far against the Clippers, but has subsequently been ruled out in the hours before each game.

The Jazz lead the series 2-1 in spite of Conley’s absence.

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