Report: Donovan Mitchell prioritizing NBA Playoffs as he recovers from multiple injuries

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Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

According to a report from Shams Charania, Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell — who is recuperating from both a nasal fracture and bone bruise — is prioritizing being healthy for the upcoming playoffs.

“Yeah, there are two issues right now with Donovan Mitchell,” Charania said. “One is he’s got a nasal fracture that he had surgery on, and that’s gonna allow — make him miss some time.

“But even bigger than that, he’s got an ailing bone bruise in his knee. He had PRP injection in that knee. Then he comes back about a week later, and then he said over the weekend, ‘I just don’t feel like myself. I don’t feel like I’m getting by people, blowing by players like I’m used to. It is something I’m gonna have to manage.’

“And I’m told Donovan Mitchell is prioritizing the playoffs. He knows he has to get right. This team — we still haven’t seen them consistently fully whole with Donovan Mitchell in the lineup. Evan Mobley is still out. Getting those two guys back, getting them healthy — they still need to gain that chemistry together. Hopefully the last stretch of the season, last couple weeks, they’ll be able to do that.”

Mitchell has been in and out of the lineup for the Cavaliers recently, as after playing against the New Orleans Pelicans on March 13 and Houston Rockets on March 16, he missed the team’s two most recent games versus the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.

The Cavaliers managed to beat the Pacers on March 18 sans Mitchell thanks to a huge game from Caris LeVert, who dropped 23 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists, one steal and one block on 7-of-15 shooting from the field and 1-of-5 from 3-point range.

But more recently, Cleveland lost to the Heat by three points on Wednesday.

Terry Rozier — an Ohio native — carried the Heat to victory with his clutch play. Notably, he nailed a clutch 3-pointer to give the Heat a lead with mere seconds remaining in the game, and Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra showered Rozier with praise after the game.

“This is why we wanted him here, he’s a great clutch performer and he’s been that way his entire career,” Spoelstra said of Rozier. “And we needed another guy that could make plays and create something out of nothing. That’s what he basically did those last two possessions.”

The Cavaliers have now dropped four of their last six games after falling to the Heat. Cleveland is now in jeopardy of falling to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, as the New York Knicks are just a game and a half back of the Cavaliers with a 41-27 record.

The Knicks — who eliminated the Cavaliers in the first round of the 2023 playoffs — are also playing better basketball than Cleveland has of late, considering New York owns a 6-4 record over its past 10 games and is riding a four-game winning streak.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, own just a 4-6 record over their last 10 games.

Cleveland’s mediocre play recently hints at the idea that the team feels Mitchell’s absence and would benefit from him making a return to the floor as soon as possible. The Cavaliers will try to avoid picking up their third loss in four games when they play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.