Jazz Conley Out For Game One Against Clippers
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will be without Mike Conley when they open their second-round playoff matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight.
Conley suffered a mild hamstring strain in the Jazz game five close-out victory over the Memphis Grizzlies last Wednesday and was listed as questionable on Monday. However, the decision was made to hold Conley out of the game after the team’s morning shootaround on Tuesday.
The veteran originally suffered the injury in February and has since reaggravated the injury twice in the last three months. After missing six games in February, Conley missed an additional nine games in late April and early May, before missing game one against the Clippers.
“The first quarter I felt a little tug or whatever in my hammy, I came to the bench and made the staff aware,” Conley said. “I told them I’d try to just run on it and play through it and see how it feels, and it just kept getting sorer and sorer the more I was running on it.”
The guard said he was hopeful to return in time for the second round, but was going to listen to his body and team trainers before making his debut.
The veteran has been a critical piece of the Jazz success this season averaging 16.2 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in his second year with the team. Owning the best record in the NBA, Coney was named an All-Star for the first time in his 13-year NBA career.
“Hopefully we can get him back soon,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of his All-Star point guard. “Not just because of this matchup and how the game will feel but because he’s been terrific the whole year on both ends of the floor.”
Rarely has Conley’s impact been so apparent as it was when the Jazz beat the Clippers in a New Year’s Day matchup in Utah.
The guard scored a season-high 33 points on 11-20 shooting while dishing out seven assists in the 106-100 victory. As the Clippers geared their defense towards slowing down All-Star teammate Donovan Mitchell, Conley abused the lengthy Los Angeles defense.
Conley again proved his value in the Jazz opening-round playoff series victory averaging 20 points, 10.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds before leaving game five with the injury against his former team.
In Conley’s absence, Jazz do have a more than adequate replacement in guard Joe Ingles. As a starter, the veteran Australian averaged 14.7 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.8 rebounds while shooting an impeccable 47 percent from the floor and 43 percent from the three-point line.
Ingles has appeared in 39 playoff games for Jazz, 35 of which he has started.
The Jazz open their second-round series against the Clippers tonight at 8 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on TNT.