Ja Morant Injury Update: Grizzlies star doubts playoff return with bruised right knee bone

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant is in doubt about returning during the playoffs as an MRI showed a bone contusion in his right knee. The team announced this on Tuesday. Morant injured his knee in the second half of Saturday’s Game 3 loss to the Golden State Warriors and did not play in Game 4 on Monday.

Morant missed nine games in March with a right knee injury. On April 24, two weeks before Game 4 of the Warriors series, Morant said he wasn’t 100 percent healthy. This was Morant’s fifth game since returning from the injury that sidelined him for more than two weeks, following Game 4 of the Memphis Series against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said that injury occurred while the Warriors were guarding Jordan Poole “torn” Morant’s knee while seemingly swiping for the ball. It happened at 6:19 in the fourth quarter, and Morant left the game after that.

Morant tweeted after the game that Poole “cracked the code” but quickly erased it. It was in reference to Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s quote about Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks being suspended for Game 3 after committing a flagrant foul in Game 2 on Warriors guard Gary Payton II, who caught a during the game had broken his elbow. While Brooks was suspended a game for his part in Payton’s injury, Poole did not subject to punishment out of the league.

Warriors guard Klay Thompson wasn’t happy at the suggestion that Poole was to blame for Morant’s injury. “Personally, I went through a bad knee injury,” Thompson said. “And I don’t think Jordan has any malicious intentions. I don’t even think he’s strong enough to hurt anyone’s knee. But we’re not out there trying to hurt people or hit people in the back of the head for a quick break. We’re playing the game right.”

Morant excelled in three games against Golden State, averaging 38.3 points with 62.3 percent true shooting and 8.3 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 steals with a 34.5 percent utilization rate. If this is the end of his playoff run, then in nine games against the Timberwolves and Warriors he’s averaged 27.1 points, 9.8 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals, with a true-shooting percentage of 54.9 percent and a usage rate of 30.4 percent.

Memphis famously went 20-5 without Morant in the regular season, which allowed the team to finish No. 2 in the Western Conference. It led for much of the fourth game but went by the stretch, losing 101-98 after being outplayed 39-29 in the fourth quarter. Tyus Jones, starting in place of Morant, played a season-high 41 minutes, and the Grizzlies averaged just 94.2 points per 100 possessions, their worst offensive performance since a January 23 loss in Dallas.

Memphis, trailing 3-1 in the series without its franchise player, is due to retire on Wednesday’s FedExForum. Ja Morant Injury Update: Grizzlies star doubts playoff return with bruised right knee bone

Justin Scacco

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