The Associated Press posted an interesting note last night, stating that Zach Randolph is hoping to return to action on Tuesday, when the Grizzlies return home to take on the Los Angeles Lakers. We noted earlier in the week that he was optimistic about returning "next week," but there had yet to be a definitive date attached to that timeline. It now appears as if we have an actual date to circle on our calendars. And, as I noted, that day is Tuesday, March 13.
I don't think anyone expects him to return next week and play anywhere close to 30 minutes, but if they can get him back on the basketball court and ease him into the rotation, the sooner, no, the healthier the better -- at least in the long run. The short-term goal is to catch the San Antonio Spurs. But in the long run we want to work our way into the playoffs with a healthy Z-Bo and solidified rotation. So, while it'll be nice to see him back on Tuesday (hopefully), I don't think we should expect to see a 20 and 10 night right out of the gate. And that's just fine by me.
From here, we'll see Marreese Speights transition back into a bench role, as soon as Randolph is ready to play starters minutes. That, of course, will only strengthen what's become a strong second unit. Remember, we traded for Speights, or at least our target was to have him come off the bench to spell both the PF and C positions, adding a nice scoring punch. With Randolph back and Speights moved to the bench, it's hard not to like how this team is shaping up, especially since they're showing great cohesion on the court.
The anticipation is already killing me. Is it Tuesday yet?