Rudy Gobert admits he was 'thrown off' by the Utah Jazz's decision not to play Donovan Mitchell in Sunday's 112-109 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their NBA playoffs first round series.
Following Utah's morning shootaround on Sunday, Mitchell had declared himself ready to return from an ankle injury which had kept him out since April 17.
However, the Jazz confirmed in their official injury report pre-game that he would miss out again with a "right ankle sprain", much to the surprise of Gobert and team-mate Bojan Bogdanovic.
!It was a big surprise," Gobert said post-game. "I try to stay out of all this because it's just going to give me a headache.
"When you wake up, you get ready for a game and you find out that your star player is not going to play, it throws you off a little bit."
Bogdanovic, who top-scored with 29 points for the Jazz including a series of last quarter three-pointers, added: "Of course we miss him, especially in the playoffs. We all know how good he is.
"I mean, I don't know what happened, honestly, with the decision for him and the medical staff to keep him out. You should ask him."
Bojan: 29p | 4 3pm | 3r | 3s | 9-9 ft— utahjazz (@utahjazz) May 24, 2021
Mike: 22p | 11a | 6r | 1b | 7-7 ft
Rudy: 15r | 11p | 3b
JC: 14p | 3r | 2a | 2b | 4-4 ft
Derrick: 12p | 11r | 4b
Joe: 11p | 3 3pm | 2r | 2a
Georges: 7p | 3r | 2a
Royce: 5r | 3p | 3a#podiumpostgame | @podiumhq pic.twitter.com/hDz3VsSFs0
Jazz coach Quin Snyder admitted pre-game that Mitchell did not agree with the medical staff's decision.
"It's reflective of what a competitor he is and how bad he wants to be out there and is looking forward to being out there," Snyder said.
Speaking about the defeat, Snyder added: "I thought we competed, I didn't think we executed on the level that we need to in this moment in the playoffs. I think our guys know that. We know the things we need to do better."
Dillon Brooks had a game-high 31 points for the Grizzlies, while Ja Morant added 26 in the pair's playoffs debuts.
"For us to be able to come out and get a win on the road in the first game in that environment is big time for us," Morant said. "We can't wait to go back to Memphis to return the favour with our fans."