Grizzlies’ Ja Morant expected to miss rest of NBA playoffs

The Grizzlies are already on the verge of being eliminated from the NBA Playoffs, trailing the Warriors 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals. They got more bad news on Tuesday.

Ja Morant is doubtful for the remainder of the playoffs, the team announced, after an MRI exam on the 22-year-old superstar’s right knee revealed a bone bruise.

Morant suffered the injury as he lunged for a loose ball midway through the fourth quarter of Game 3 against the Warriors and his knee was grabbed by Golden State’s Jordan Poole. He left the game and didn’t return.

The blow is a significant one for the second-seeded Grizzlies, who will now be without their top scorer and one of the NBA’s top playmakers the rest of the way.

Morant, who was averaging just over 27 points per game in this year’s playoffs — and 38.3 points, 8.3 assists and 6.7 rebounds against the Warriors in the second-round series — hasn’t played since sustaining the injury. That included on Monday night when Golden State rallied to edge Memphis, 101-98, in San Francisco.

The Grizzlies’ Ja Morant drives to the basket against the Warriors’ Klay Thompson during Game 3.
Ja Morant's right knee is grabbed by the Warriors' Jordan Poole.
Ja Morant’s right knee is grabbed by the Warriors’ Jordan Poole in Game 3.

After the Game 3 injury, Morant tweeted that Poole “broke the code,” though he quickly deleted it. The jab was a reference to Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who had delivered the same line about the Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks after Brooks was hit with a flagrant foul on the Warriors’ Gary Payton II in Game 2.

Payton II suffered a fractured elbow on the play and Brooks was suspended for Game 3.

As for Morant, this marks the second time in recent weeks that he has missed time. In March, he sat out nine games also because of a right knee injury. Prior to the Golden State series, Morant also said he wasn’t 100 percent.

Per the team, Morant is expected to make a full recovery. Game 5 of the series is Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET.

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