Playing with fire
Mike Conley's health has come into question since the return from the All-Star break. The Grizzlies point guard's moves have looked labored, his speed non-existent, and he has relied heavily on his jumpshot. Everything came to a head in the Grizzlies' 95-92 loss to the Celtics.
Conley was dribbling down the sideline with a defender in front of him when one of the Grizzlies' worst fears came to fruition. His ankle turned and his knee buckled in a terrifying fashion. The point guard that has been at the helm for the Grizzlies for seven years now writhed on the floor in pain grabbing at his ankle. Conley had to be picked up and carried off the floor. It was terrifying to say the least.
He was carried to the locker room and it looked like he was going to be out for at least the rest of the game. Grizzlies Twitter was exploding with "oohhhh nooos" and "please be alrights". I didn't think there was anyway he would make it back into the Celtics game or many games moving forward. There was no reason for him to come back in. The Grizzlies could easily lose without him.
Then it was reported he had WALKED back to the bench with a sprained right ankle. The extent of the injury was not known, but it was a good sign going forward that he made it back to the bench. Nobody in their right mind thought he was going to play, and he shouldn't have. The thought process should have been focused on rest and relaxation, not forcing him him back into a terrible position in a game the Grizzlies were struggling mightily in.
A few minutes after coming to the bench, Mike Conley strapped on the Superman cape and checked back into the game. He checked back into a game where the Grizzlies were obviously struggling outside of Conley. So when he checked back in, still very much injured, the Grizzlies relied on Conley. Hitting shots off one leg all over the place, Conley was trying to will the Grizzlies to a victory off a non-playoff Eastern Conference team.
Ok, I have a Mount Everest sized problem with this. WHY IS THE STARTING POINT GUARD PLAYING ON HALF A LEG AGAINST A TEAM THAT ISN'T EVEN IN THE PLAYOFFS? It makes no sense. The thought is just a total disregard for the long-term goals of the team. What if he had come into the game and gotten hurt....again? Coach Joerger is playing with fire.
I know Mike Conley wants to look tough and prove to his teammates that he can be that "iron man" type of player. The problem is that he's already proven that time after time. This is one of the reasons the team has two quality backup point guards. If Mike Conley doesn't rest - and soon - the next time he goes down, he will not walk back to the bench, and will most likely not be back on the court for a while.