Donovan Mitchell makes admission about his body as Cavs look to clinch playoff spot

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell admitted that he still needs to build up confidence in his body ahead of the playoffs this season.

Mitchell has been out of the lineup quite a bit as of late, dealing with a knee injury and nasal fracture. He’s only played in 54 games this season with just two games to play.

“The biggest thing for me is just to continue to build my confidence back up in my body,” Mitchell said after the team’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. “The biggest cure for this is rest. I don’t have time for that. … I consider myself a pretty mentally strong person, so just being able to find ways to adapt to the situation. I felt really good tonight, and just continue to build on that.”

An All-Star this season, Mitchell played well against the Grizzlies, scoring 29 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field (5-of-10 from 3) while dishing out eight assists. Wednesday night’s game was the highest scoring performance that Mitchell has had since Feb. 27 against the Dallas Mavericks.

While injuries have slowed down the All-NBA guard, Mitchell has still been a catalyst for the Cavs all season long. He’s averaging 26.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3.

Mitchell really stepped up during the middle of the season when Darius Garland and Evan Mobley were both sidelined with injuries, and it helped the Cavs stay in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

After Wednesday night’s win, the Cavs are now the No. 4 seed in the East, sitting just 0.5 games back of the New York Knicks, who are currently the third seed.

Jarrett Allen expressed confidence in Mitchell’s ability to get back to his old self this season.

“We know Donovan is capable of it — I mean, it’s not like it’s going to be world changing for us, like it’s an eclipse,” Allen said regarding when Mitchell will feel healthy or confident enough to dunk on an opponent again.

“We’re talking about it in there, saying that we’re going to find a way, no matter what. No matter what happens, no matter how he’s feeling, we’re going to find a way to make it work.”

Last season, the Cavs came up short in the playoffs, losing to the Knicks in five games in the first round. Mitchell certainly wants to avoid a similar outcome this season, no matter who the team faces in the first round.

If the Cavs avoid the play-in tournament in the East (currently two games up on the No. 7-seeded Philadelphia 76ers), it’ll give Mitchell some time to rest before the playoffs officially begin on April 20.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.