MEMPHIS — Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant has a bone bruise in his right knee and is considered doubtful for the remainder of the playoffs, the team announced Tuesday.
The Grizzlies said Morant underwent an MRI that revealed the extent of the injury. Memphis will be without their star point guard for a second straight game as the Grizzlies try to avoid elimination against the Golden State Warriors at home in Game 5 on Wednesday.
The Grizzlies say that Morant is expected to make a full recovery. They believe he suffered the bone bruise on a fourth-quarter play in Game 3 when Jordan Poole trapped Morant and went for the basketball but instead grabbed Morant’s knee.
The NBA did not see any reason for disciplinary action on the play but the Grizzlies believe that it was the play that “triggered” Morant’s series-altering injury for Memphis.
The Grizzlies went 20-5 without Morant this season, and they desperately missed his scoring down the stretch in a 101-98 loss in Game 4 as Memphis missed six of its final eight shots after leading by three with 2:32 remaining.
Morant — who leads the NBA in clutch time scoring with 42 points this postseason, according to ESPN Stats and Information — averaged 38.3 points, 8.3 assists and 6.7 rebounds in this second-round series.
“You know how Ja is in the fourth quarters,” Jaren Jackson Jr. said of the team missing Morant in the clutch. “He dominates pretty much every fourth quarter. I’ve got to look at it, see how the looks were for sure, but I think we were just missing. We just missed.
“… We had a chance. We had the lead. Then we just kind of lost it; you know what I mean? You saw how it went. We just make a couple more shots, it’s a different story, especially late. … We’ve got to finish for sure. But we’re going to take some of that into Game 5.”