Another one down for Memphis.
Grizzlies phenom and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant suffered a Grade 2 left ankle sprain late in the second quarter of his squad’s eventual 116-111 overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday evening, the team announced on Tuesday.
After initial x-rays revealed no fracture in the ankle on Monday night, further tests on Tuesday morning revealed the true nature of the problem.
The injury occurred when Morant attempted to use his otherworldly bounce to block a Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot jump shot and rolled his ankle when he couldn’t stick the landing. The Murray State product was clearly in a lot of pain instantly, hopping around until he finally collapsed to the floor in pain. He was later brought to the locker room in a wheelchair.
The 21-year-old was ruled out with a left ankle sprain shortly after, but the Grizzlies did rally to beat the Nets to earn their first win of the season in overtime. Still, Brooklyn was without both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, so don’t get any wild ideas about wagering on Memphis to win against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday as +510 odds (22Bet) underdogs. Boston’s -111 odds (22Bet) on the -10.5 point spread would actually be the smart bet there.
In fact, it would probably be prudent to avoid putting any bets down on the Grizzlies until Morant returns in about a month or so, though their opponents should make for some decent plays while the youngster’s sidelined.
Why so hard on Memphis? Because not only is their franchise player and crown jewel—Morant—likely out for over a month, they’re also going to be without third-year standout Jaren Jackson Jr., who continues to await his chance to make his season debut after undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus in August. Not to mention Justise Winslow, who has been trying to get back from a hip injury as well.
Though the two full games Morant played for Memphis this season were both ended in losses, he had gotten off to a very encouraging start, averaging 36.0 points and 8.0 assists on a 58/33/81 shooting line while turning the ball over just three times total.
With Morant out alongside other key cogs in Jackson and Winslow, everyone else on the squad will have to step up, especially Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, and Tyus Jones. If you’ve got space on your fantasy team’s roster, they could be worth a flier in your league to see who soaks up the most of Morant’s production. Don’t expect any of them to match what Ja does, however.
Morant was taken second overall by the Grizz in last year’s NBA Draft, going on to earn the aforementioned ROY award as well as an NBA All-Rookie First Team nod thanks to his stats (17.8 points, 7.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per game with a 48/34/78 shooting line) as much as his unique blend of poise, creativity, and jaw-dropping athleticism and bounce.
The kid from Dalzell, South Carolina can not come back sooner as far as Memphis is concerned.