On Friday Night, the Grizzlies produced an impressive victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, thanks to excellent performances from Jaren Jackson Jr., John Konchar, and others. However, the big story of the night was Ja Morant suffering an ankle injury late in the game that resulted in him being helped off the court. Fortunately, details on the ankle injury were quickly available early Saturday afternoon:
On a positive note, a Grade 1 ankle sprain seems to the best outcome after Morant was clearly in pain after the injury occurred. As a few reported after then game, there did not seem to be much concern that Morant’s injury was a long-term issue. While it is less than ideal that Morant’s recovery time could be week-to-week, perhaps he will only miss only handful of games and return sooner than expected.
For reference, Morant and the Grizzlies experienced an almost identical situation nearly two years ago. On 11/28/2020, Morant suffered a scary injury to his ankle against the Nets in Brooklyn, and the eventual diagnosis was a Grade 2 ankle sprain with an expected recovery of 3-to-5 weeks. Morant actually returned in nearly three weeks time, likely sooner than many expected. Hopefully with the injury being a Grade 1 sprain this time, Morant will once again return sooner than some timelines may suggest.
Obviously, it is positive news that Morant will likely not be out for an extended period of time. However, over the next 10 days to two weeks, the Grizzlies depth will once again have to answer the call to continue earning wins. Without a doubt, the combination of losing both Morant and Desmond Bane at the same time (combined 53.3 ppg and 11.9 apg so far this season) takes a way a big part of the Grizzlies offensive production. However, if Jackson Jr., Konchar, Dillon Brooks, Tyus Jones, and others can build off last night’s victory, and thrive in bigger than expected roles like they have in the past, Memphis could still find success until its elite backcourt returns.
As we have all seen before, the “next man up” approach is something the Grizzlies roster has thrived on time and time again in recent years.