Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell exits NBA concussion protocol, expected to play Friday

Center Rudy Gobert could be nearing a return from calf injury as well

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell officially exited the NBA’s concussion protocol on Thursday, after missing Utah’s last eight games. He’s expected to play in the Jazz’s matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

Mitchell’s concussion came after being inadvertently elbowed in the head by Lakers guard Russell Westbrook in the second quarter of the Jazz’s matchup with Los Angeles on Jan. 17. While the guard finished the rest of that game — he wasn’t at his best, missing all eight of his 3-point shots — Mitchell experienced concussion symptoms after the game and entered the NBA’s concussion protocol. The Jazz went 2-6 in Mitchell’s absence.

The star guard was expected to return over last weekend, but symptoms lasted longer than expected. As a result, Mitchell met with a concussion specialist earlier this week in order to discuss safely returning to play. The concussion protocol mandates that a player remains symptom-free at rest, then must complete a routine of gradually increased physical exertion without feeling symptoms.

In other injury news, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported that Rudy Gobert is recovering from his calf strain suffered against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 23. Gobert is reportedly expected to return to play early next week.

Head coach Quin Snyder and guard Danuel House remain in the league’s COVID protocols. Center Hassan Whiteside (lower back strain) and guard Jordan Clarkson (knee soreness) are listed as questionable for Friday’s contest.