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Although Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is doubtful to return during the playoffs because of a knee injury, he is not expected to require surgery.
According to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said Wednesday night that Morant won’t need surgery on his right knee “from everything he is hearing.”
Morant broke out in his third NBA season with 27.4 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game for a Grizzlies team that finished second in the Western Conference standings. Along the way, he earned his first-ever All-Star Game appearance.
The former Murray State star guided Memphis to a first-round playoff series win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, which set up a Western Conference semifinal matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
Unfortunately, Morant suffered a bone bruise in his right knee after this moment with Warriors guard Jordan Poole during Memphis’ 142-112 loss in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals:
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“I was going for the ball. … I’m not even that type of player, I respect everybody. Hopefully he gets better, and we can see him out there next game.”
Jordan Poole on his incident with Ja Morant pic.twitter.com/9rbDxEbzag
The Grizzlies showed a ton of heart in Game 5 with their backs against the wall, as they blew out the Warriors 134-95, cut the series deficit to 3-2 and forced a Game 6.
Without the 22-year-old Morant, the Grizzlies turned to Tyus Jones to start at the point, and he delivered in Game 5 with 21 points and nine assists. Desmond Bane, De’Anthony Melton, Ziaire Williams and John Konchar all saw significant playing time in the backcourt as well.
Jones is a solid player in his own right and excels at both ends of the court, and the Grizzlies did go 20-5 during the regular season sans Morant thanks to their tremendous depth.
Memphis may not get Morant get back during these playoffs, but if he does indeed avoid surgery, he should be good to go for the start of the 2022-23 season.