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Donovan Mitchell's status for Game 6 could be in question after suffering hamstring injury


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DALLAS — With just under five minutes left in the Dallas Mavericks' Game 5 rout of the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell drove through defenders on his way to the rim. He jumped up and threw a pass to the corner to Bojan Bogdanovic.

When he landed, he immediately grabbed at his left hamstring and put his hand in the air to get his coach's attention; he couldn't play on. Mitchell limped directly to the locker room and was still limping when he met with the media after the game.

"I went up to try and finish, and it just tightened up on me," Mitchell said. "And I couldn't run back on defense, so I had to come out."

The question of why Mitchell was in the game at all at that point is a fair one; for all intents and purposes, the game was over. The Jazz were down 28 with less than five minutes left, and Utah hadn't had a sustained offensive push all game long (its highest scoring quarter was 22 points).

A comeback wasn't likely to happen.

Still, it's the playoffs, so you can't fault a team or a player for wanting to play until the end. But, now, there's a new question: Will Mitchell play in Game 6?

For one, it's a new injury for Mitchell. He said he hadn't felt that sensation of his hamstring tightening up before and said he expects to have to play through pain — if he can go at all.

"It's the playoffs, so gotta find a way," Mitchell said. "We'll see how I feel, but I'm a competitor, so …"

When asked if he had any concern about his status for Thursday's Game 6, Mitchell quickly said, "I'll be fine."

But he later backpedaled a bit. Mitchell will undergo an MRI Tuesday in Salt Lake City to determine the severity of the tight hamstring, and the results will likely determine his availability for Utah's win-or-go-home game on Thursday (8 p.m. MDT, TNT).

"We'll see what it looks like," Mitchell said.

As much as Mitchell likely wants to play, hamstring injuries often win out. Phoenix's Devin Booker suffered a Grade 1 sprain in the first game of the playoffs and has been ruled out for two weeks. Mitchell, though, does have some control over his status, as we saw last year when he played through an ankle injury despite the protests of the Jazz medical team.

So if it's close, he'll likely play.

And if he does, the hamstring could make what has already been a difficult series for Mitchell that much harder.

Mitchell has averaged 26 points through five games, but he's been far from efficient. The All-Star guard is shooting 38% from the field and 19% from the 3-point line.

"Give credit to (Dorian) Finney-Smith," Mitchell said. " I've been saying that since the beginning of the year pretty much. This wasn't one of my best games in my career. The looks that I've gotten haven't been the easiest, but I've got to find a way. At the end of the day, it's 3-2, and he's done a solid job."

When told of the praise from Utah's star, Finney-Smith said: "Appreciate it, but we've got one more. I hope he keeps struggling."

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