The Utah Jazz will play Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night shorthanded again as point guard Mike Conley is still out with a hamstring injury, per the New York Times‘ Marc Stein. Conley suffered a mild right hamstring strain in Game 5 in Utah’s first-round series against the Grizzlies, and he has not played since. The Jazz managed to walk away with a win in Game 1, thanks to a 45-point effort from Donovan Mitchell, and while that’s a huge bonus for Utah, it just illustrates how much more work is put on Mitchell’s shoulders without Conley there.
Against the Grizzlies, Conley averaged 17.4 points. 8.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the floor and a scorching 54 percent from long range. That’s a significant amount of production missing from Utah’s lineup, and obviously the Jazz would like to have him available for as much of the second round as possible.
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This specific injury is a concern for the Jazz, as Conley missed 21 games during the regular season with right hamstring tightness. However, prior to the start of the series, he remained optimistic about his outlook.
“My mindset is, I’m going to be ready to play,” Conley said, via the Salt Lake Tribune. “That’s kind of the visual I put in front of myself: ‘I’m going to be ready.’ But at the same time, we’re going to see what happens in the next few days and be smart about how we approach it going into this next series.”
Perhaps he’ll be ready to go for Game 3 with the additional time off, but hamstring strains are difficult injuries to predict, given that Conley missed a significant amount of time during the regular season with the same issue. For now, Utah will have to continue to lean on Mitchell and Joe Ingles to initiate the offense against a tough Clippers team and hope that Conley’s return is around the corner.