Shortly after the Clippers announced that Kawhi Leonard was missing tonight’s game, Mike Conley was made available to the media. This was something that had not been done in the past games, all of which Conley had missed due to his “mild” hamstring strain. When this was announced, there was some slight optimism that he would be announcing his return to the playoffs. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Mike Conley is out for tonight's game.— utahjazz (@utahjazz) June 16, 2021
Conley opened up to the media and clarified what a lot of us had been wondering regarding his hamstring injury. According to Conley himself, he experienced a “small setback” between games 2 and three, as he tried maybe harder that he should have to return to action. Conley remained hopeful that he would be back this series vs the Clippers.
-Conley says he had small setback between Gms 2 & 3 vs LAC— Austin Horton (@austinhorton) June 16, 2021
-No set date for return, hopeful it'll be "this series"
-He's confident with a full off-season he'll be able to get it fully healed: "Time is the best thing for it, which we don't have."
(he's VERY frustrated)#TakeNote pic.twitter.com/eDeJq838b6
Conley said the setback happened the day of Game 2. "I was pretty much prepared to come back in Game 3," Conley said.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) June 16, 2021
Mike Conley said during his media session today that he still thinks it is possible that he could return during this series. https://t.co/Tttt55tltj— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 16, 2021
As frustrating as this whole thing has been for Jazz fans, I can’t imagine how frustrating it’s been for Mike Conley, especially the last two games that have resulted in pretty ugly Jazz losses.
Mike Conley: "It's very, very frustrating. I've worked so hard on my body to avoid this happening. … It was unfortunate timing. To be sitting here right now, not playing, I'm the most frustrated person you could run into."— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) June 16, 2021
It will be interesting to see what happens the rest of this series with Mike Conley, especially now that Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out of the series with a possible ACL injury, and most likely the remainder of the season if the Clippers were to somehow pull this off. If the Jazz can handle business tonight at home against a Kawhi-less Clippers team, do they bring Conley back for a closeout game 6? Or keep he rested for the Western Conference Finals. Not getting to far ahead of ourselves, the Jazz need to win tonight at home, and focus on one game at a time. But it’s pretty clear that the Jazz are playing a longer game with Mike Conley, and they know they need to him healthy for as long as possible for this hopeful NBA Finals run.