NBA: Jazz's Mitchell, Thunder's George downplay injuries

Field Level Media via Reuters

Posted at Apr 16 2018 01:20 PM

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) is congratulated by Russell Westbrook Sr. after a play against the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mark D. Smith, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Utah rookie guard Donovan Mitchell and Oklahoma City forward Paul George both downplayed injuries that knocked them out for part of the fourth quarter Sunday in the Thunder's 116-108 win over the visiting Jazz.

Mitchell started limping midway through the fourth quarter of the Western Conference quarterfinal opener, and he appeared to be in discomfort. He was subbed out of the game and went to the locker room for an X-ray on his left foot that came back negative.

"I just stubbed my toe," said Mitchell, who quickly returned to action. "Nothing major."

George scored a game-high 36 points and set an Oklahoma City playoff record with eight 3-pointers. However, hip and lower back soreness forced him to miss the final 62 seconds as the Jazz staged a frantic rally that fell short.

George later said, "Oh, yeah, I'm all good. I ain't never sit out playoff games."

Mitchell, a 21-year-old Louisville product, finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds. According to ESPN's Stats and Info, he became the first player since LeBron James in 2006 to produce at least 25 points and 10 boards in his postseason debut.

"I think it is what I expected, at least for myself," Mitchell said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. "The physicality was there. Playing through certain things, fighting for rebounds. Just being more aggressive."

Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, according to the Tribune, "It's hard for me not (to) have confidence in Donovan, just coaching him for a year. I know he's not going to be afraid."

Mitchell averaged 20.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds in the regular season. He is widely regarded as one of the top two candidates for Rookie of the Year, along with the Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons.

George, 27, produced averages of 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his first season with the Thunder. He played the previous seven seasons with the Indiana Pacers, who made him a 2010 first-round pick out of Fresno State.

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