I miss him already.
He’s our conductor, our captain. He’s our fearless leader in times of trial and tribulation. He’s our guiding light in the dark, both a mentor and a friend. And now our peerless leader has been afflicted with a lower back injury that will keep him out a minimum of six weeks.
The world might as well be collapsing in on itself.
If you feel this way, then let us at GBB lead you through a series of therapeutic exercises that will help you deal with the lower back injury of Michael Alex Conley, Jr.
Scream. Loud and a Lot
This is always helpful when bad things happen. I’m not going to tell you what to scream, but something really cathartic like, “Flibbertigibbet” or “Hogwash” or “Tarnation” probably will do the trick.
Let me tell you the true story of how I found out about the lower back injury of Michael Alex Conley, Jr. I was walking on a bridge on campus when I heard my phone produce a sound signifying I got an email. I opened the email to see a tweet embedded in the message regarding some vague Mike Conley news. I clicked on the link and saw this:
Conley expected to miss 6 weeks with fractures in lower back. Will be reevaluated in a month. Conley suffered injury in Mon loss to Hornets.— Michael Wallace (@MyMikeCheck) November 29, 2016
Frozen on the bridge outside, I raised my arms into the air thinking, “Why God, must you persecute the afflicted?” Immediately after this thought, I swung my arms down, flailingly, and screamed, “[Redacted]!”
I have been muttering, “[Redacted] [Also, redacted] [Continued redactions]” since then, but nothing felt as good as that immediate yell at the unfairness of the world.
Have a Good Cry
This is necessary periodically for all human beings. I allow myself one or two good cries a year, otherwise I’m afraid I will spontaneously combust from the accumulated feels that get bottled up in my system.
Right now is a very appropriate time for a good cry. If you’re having a tough time drawing tears to your eyes, let me guide you through a meditative crying session.
First, close your eyes. Now open them, otherwise you will not be able to read the rest of this meditation.
Take a deep breath in. And breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Continue focusing on your breathing. Begin imagining our valiant hero, Michael Conley. Pinpoint a specific memory of Conley. It could be a game-winning shot. It could be an ankle-breaking move. It could be a sweet dish. It could be about his stunning sense of fashion. It could be something he said or did off the court. It could be anything you please.
Now while you’re remembering that memory, register the feeling it makes you feel. Warmth, goodness, happiness, mirth, ebullience, jubilee all should arise in your memory.
Now, just as you’re feeling good about that memory, realize that none of that can happen ever again in the next six to eight weeks and that the world is unfair and cruel and oh gosh now I’m crying...
Resist the Urge to Visit the Trade Machine
This is a natural reaction, but try to stay away from this. The team is good this year. If you’ve watched them, you know that they had potential. No need to rock the boat here when you have a team (finally) with fun, young prospects.
There are two young point guards out there who need playing time to develop and MAKE MISTAKES. There has never been a better time for those players to get the available time needed to get better than now.
Additionally, James Ennis, (hopefully) Chandler Parsons, and Zach Randolph should be back relatively soon. It will be a struggle for the Grizz until then, but their healthiness should at least allow Memphis to be competitive.
Be Careful About Free Agents on the Market
This is tangential to the above suggestion.
People on the Twitters have suggested Jarrett Jack or Mario Chalmers as potential replacements. I am not opposed to these two players or, as the Commercial Appeal’s Ron Tillery also pointed out, former Grizzly Greivis Vasquez.
Again, the young guys need to develop. But also, who says these guys add that much value to Memphis? Vasquez hasn’t posted a positive win shares per 48 number since 2014/15 and is producing negatively again. That’s very bad.
Mario Chalmers we know fits well in Beale Street Blue, but he may not be healthy until after Conley comes back.
Jack has produced relatively well and could be a positive veteran influence on the right kind of contract. However, he is 33 which is slightly concerning, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers at this point.
Additionally, Norris Cole has cropped up as a potential replacement for the injured Conley. At first glance it’s an attractive option. But knowing that Cole now plays in the Chinese Basketball Association, averaging only 19.1 points and 4.3 assists per contest (for reference, the league leaders average 39.4 points and 9.2 assists respectively) on 41.2 percent shooting and 28.6 percent shooting from three point land makes the potential acquisition a bit less sexy.
That doesn’t mean the Grizzlies shouldn’t make a move. But it does mean that they should be prudent if they decide to do so.
Skip School or Work
If you wouldn’t mind being fired or failing, this is certainly a productive option. I recommend the “stay in bed with the covers pulled up over your head in the dark” maneuver if you do decide to go this route.
Don’t Give Up
This is the big one. It will be a rough slog until Zach and Ennis (and Parsons eventually) come back. But when they do, the team should show some semblance of fight in most games they play. That’s more than many teams can ask for, and that may well be good enough to stay in the playoff hunt.
And Mike will be back. Six to eight weeks is a long time, yes. But it’s not the end of the season. Not yet. So just hold on tight while things get patched back together. Things can still work out.