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Zach Randolph Cleared By Team Docs For Non-Contact Drills

This news dropped yesterday afternoon, via Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Team doctors performed a third and final magnetic resonance imaging examination on Randolph's right knee Monday morning. The MRI results showed more healing as Randolph recovers from a torn right medial collateral ligament.

That Randolph continues to make significant progress means it's more likely that he could be cleared for full-contact workouts in the eight-week window originally diagnosed. Although the Griz haven't yet set a target date, it's possible Randolph could return March 7 at Golden State.

Obviously, that fact that Randolph remains on -- and the optimistic tone around the story suggests even ahead -- of schedule is great news for the Grizzlies, who continue to be pretty herky-jerky following a home loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.

March 7 is just a day over three weeks from today. With the amount of games packed into this season's schedule, three weeks is a long time. Now, at least, the Grizzlies have, if not a specific date quite yet, a general area of time to expect Randolph's return.

For now, they need to focus on playing consistently better and staying in the Western Conference playoff picture. If they can remain in the fight and get to a few wins above .500 around the time Z-Bo gets back on the floor, they won't need to waste time making up lost ground.