The Memphis Grizzlies are on the brink of elimination and need a win against the Golden State Warriors to keep their season alive
The Grizzlies, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, lost to the Warriors in Game 4 without superstar guard Ja Morant to fall into a 3-1 series deficit. Morant missed the contest with a knee injury suffered in Game 3. Now it looks like Memphis will have to prepare to be without him indefinitely.
What is Morant’s injury and how long will he be out? Below is everything we know.
What is Ja Morant’s injury?
Morant suffered a right knee injury in the fourth quarter of Game 3 against the Warriors, forcing him to miss a key Game 4.
Morant appeared on the injury report in Game 4 with “knee soreness” as the team awaited his MRI results to determine the extent of the injury.
It was revealed on Tuesday that Morant had a bone bruise in his right knee.
Will Ja Morant play in Game 5?
The Grizzlies announced Morant will be out for Game 5 and the rest of the postseason with a bone bruise in his right knee.
“Morant underwent an MRI and a follow-up scan revealed a bone bruise in his right knee. Morant is questionable for the rest of the season but is expected to make a full recovery,” Grizzlies PR tweeted.
The injury marks the end of Morant’s stellar postseason, where he averaged 27.1 points, 9.8 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
Who will start in the absence of Ja Morant?
The Grizzlies have been impressive in games without Morant this season, going 20-5 without their All-Star guard.
In Game 4, the Grizzlies decided to start backup guard Tyus Jones instead of Morant. Jones is one of the best backup point guards in the league and has often served as a temporary starter whenever Morant — or another member of the Grizzlies’ backcourt — has missed games this season.
In 23 starts, Jones averaged 12.7 points, 6.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from three.
He was as solid as can be in Game 4, posting 19 points, six rebounds and five assists in Morant’s absence.
Backup point forward Kyle Anderson also took on more of a ball-handling role for the Grizzlies in Game 4, scoring 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field with eight boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
Where the Grizzlies missed Morant the most in Game 4 was in the fourth quarter, where the All-Star guard took his game to another level. He scored the team’s final 15 points in a Game 2 win over the Warriors, and only Chris Paul and Stephen Curry have scored more points in the fourth quarter of these playoffs.
Without Morant’s ability as a closer, the Grizzlies gave up the lead in the fourth quarter and the Warriors fell into a 3-1 hole.
After losing in Game 4, teammate Jaren Jackson Jr. he acknowledged Morant’s absence as one of the keys to him relinquishing the lead.
“You know how Ja is in the fourth quarter,” Jackson said of Morant. “He dominates almost every fourth quarter. I have to watch it, I’ll definitely see how he looked, but I think we just missed. We just missed.”
“We had a chance. We had a lead. Then we kind of lost it, you know what I mean?”
The Grizzlies will need to establish a new closer with Morant likely ready for the playoffs, and they will need to find one quickly.
Memphis will host the Warriors on Wednesday, May 11 at 9:30 p.m. on TNT with their season on the line.