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Donovan Mitchell - Royce O'Neale - Utah Jazz
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Utah Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchell Says ‘Everybody’s Conditioning’ Entering Bubble Is ‘A Big Standout’

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell sounded impressed when he discussed the physical shape that his teammates arrived in at the beginning of the NBA’s bubble a couple of weeks prior to the league’s restart of the 2019-20 season.

Mitchell and the Jazz step back into action for the first time since March 9, when they play the New Orleans Pelicans on July 30.

On March 11, the Jazz were scheduled to play the Oklahoma City Thunder. Seconds before the game was set to tip-off, the NBA postponed the game after Utah’s Rudy Gobert received positive test results for the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. A short time later, the league suspended the season.

Since then, Jazz players and coaches have spent the majority of time away from each other due to coronavirus concerns and restrictions.

A couple of weeks ago, the entire team was able to return to Salt Lake City and begin preparations for the NBA’s restart.

The third-year guard and first-time NBA All-Star told the media on Friday, July 10, “everyone’s conditioning” was “a big standout” as the Jazz entered the bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

“I think guys have been really locked in. We’ve had a couple of Zoom sessions over the break to kind of refresh our memory on a lot of different things and it made coming back and practices a lot easier,” Mitchell said. “Guys are picking it up. Even the rookies have been ahead of the game as well so I think that’s been one of the biggest things for sure and as well as everybody’s conditioning too. I think that’s been a big standout for sure.”

143 days will have passed between games for Mitchell and the Jazz by the time they play the Pelicans. Although the coronavirus caused hiatus will have lasted more than four months, the Jazzman thinks the team’s physical conditioning from March will carry over to the July restart because of the work the players have put in during the break.

“I think the biggest thing was we already came from being pretty much at close to the peak of our fitness and our conditioning so take that time off but it’s kind of I think a bit easier to come back as far as you know the wind I should say. Getting your wind back and doing that type of stuff.”

Mitchell’s only other physical concern during the conference call was “soft tissue” injuries due to the inability to focus on the “little things” during the pandemic.

“The only thing that you know will be arranged to be seen in — and knock on wood – but it’s just the soft tissue. The little things that we didn’t really have access to over this time off.”

NBA Restart Plan

Starting on July 30, 22 NBA teams, including the Jazz, will finish the 2019-20 regular season with an eight-game schedule. After that, 16 teams (eight from each conference) will start the NBA Playoffs.

The games will be played at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and no fans will be in attendance.

Mitchell and the Jazz will restart the season against the New Orleans Pelicans on July 30 at 4:30 p.m (MDT). The game will be televised on TNT and AT&T SportsNet.