Mike Conley was making good progress recovering from hamstring strain. All signs were that he was returning to action for Game 3 of the Western Conference semi-final between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers.
But, on Game 2 of the Second Round Series, Conley suffered what he called a “little setback,” which kept him on the sidelines longer than originally expected.
The initial hamstring pull wasn’t as bad as the one he had during the regular season. The Jazz called the most recent injury a mild right hamstring injury, and Conley said that was exactly what it was.
He had been given eight days off after experiencing pain and oppression in Game 5 of the Jazz First Round Series against the Memphis Grizzlies. He had undergone all the right treatments and precautions to be able to put on his sneakers and join his team, and that’s when the setback happened.
“It was similar, but sort of went down a bit further so it was sort of stretched a bit further from where it was initially painful,” Conley said Wednesday morning after being kicked out of the game. .5 against the Clippers. “It’s almost like the original place felt a lot better and now, as it went lower, I was trying to get that place to let go a bit and heal.”
Conley has said he feels close to a comeback, but at this point, with the closeness of the games scheduled, there is no way for him to be 100% healthy. He hinted that if the Jazz’s current streak against the Clippers comes down to a Game 7, he will play.
“With the way things are going and obviously with the series as close as it is and as tight as it is, I think that series is possible, depending on the situation,” he said. “I’ve played a lot in my career and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again … if we can find a way to win here and there (in games 5 and 6) it would give a few more days for hopefully feel a little better in the future.
Conley’s frustration with the injury and setback is obvious. He’s been working hard, focusing on his conditioning, and treating the hamstrings with the utmost caution and care for months. Being sidelined while the Jazz played at such a high level and it happens during the playoffs has put Conley to the test, making him weigh how hard he is trying to keep up with his rehabilitation and treatment. .
Some days he works on strength conditioning, but some days he does nothing, hoping the hamstrings will feel better after resting.
“You push too far and you could have another setback and be out for longer,” he said. “If we are able to get out of this round in the future you don’t want to miss several heats because of an injury that you could have handled a little better.”
Conley doesn’t worry that hamstrings will be a chronic problem in the future. With hamstring injuries the best thing for a full recovery is time, but time is not on the Jazz side right now. They will worry about full recovery during the offseason.
Conley knows there will be risks and pain when he can return, but those are risks he’s willing to take.
“Time is the best thing for that and we don’t have that,” Conley said. “But at the same time, we’re speeding things up as fast as possible and like I said, I feel capable and ready if I’m able to play in this series.”