Jazz's Mike Conley Returns to NBA Campus Following Birth of Son Elijah

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (10) brings the ball up court in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Utah Jazz star Mike Conley returned to the NBA's Walt Disney World Resort campus on Monday night following the birth of his son, Elijah, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

The league's health and safety protocol stipulates that a player must quarantine for four days at the resort with continued negative test results before he's fully cleared to play. 

Ryan Miller of KSL.com reported Conley's availability for Friday's Game 3 will hinge on when his COVID-19 test results come in at the end of his four-day quarantine.

Donovan Mitchell stepped up in Conley's absence to finish with 57 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in Game 1. That still wasn't enough to deliver a victory as Utah lost 135-125 in overtime.

In order for the Jazz to advance to the second round, Mitchell can't continue to shoulder that kind of burden. Mitchell and Joe Ingles also accounted for 13 of the team's 18 assists, illustrating how sorely Utah missed Conley's playmaking.

The 32-year-old averaged 4.4 assists per game in the regular season, his fewest since 2008-09. He was still second on the Jazz in the category.

Winning Game 2 on Wednesday will be critical. Whereas climbing out of a 2-0 hole would be difficult, the series will look a lot different if the Nuggets and Jazz split the first two games with Conley re-entering the picture.

Henry Abbott @TrueHoop

Not to get ahead of ourselves here, but it’s possible there will be a close series, and then the Jazz will add well-rested starting point guard Mike Conley.

In the meantime, head coach Quin Snyder will need to keep leaning on Ingles and Jordan Clarkson to supplement Mitchell in the backcourt until Conley returns.