Memphis Grizzlies: Why Jaren Jackson Jr.’s recovery is taking so long

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Memphis Grizzlies have been playing basketball all season without their second-best player. It’s been hard to watch at times, but generally speaking, this team has exceeded expectations.

There have been a ton of positive takeaways in JJJ’s absence. Most notably, we’ve seen some young players receive playing time who would not have had room on this roster in the past.

We’ve also seen this team build an identity, even without Jackson in the lineup. It’s been clear that this squad is full of guys who can step up when this team needs them. We’ve seen almost every player who receives meaningful minutes play at least one game where they could be considered the MVP of that match.

At some point though, this team needs Jaren Jackson Jr. back. Being a team that can punch above its weight class from time-to-time isn’t going to get you anywhere in the long run. Yes, this team can float around .500 all year, but in a competitive Western Conference, that might not even give them a playoff spot.

Why is Memphis Grizzlies PF Jaren Jackson Jr.’s recovery taking so long?

Jaren Jackson Jr. was supposed to be back after the NBA All-Star break. Well, the break has come and gone and he’s still not here. So what’s taking so long?

First of all, it’s important to remember that a meniscus injury that requires surgery generally leads to a 3-6 month recovery period.

There are two factors that most people have failed to consider though. Firstly, Jackson Jr. didn’t have his meniscus removed, as many players do. Instead, he had it repaired, which can be much more beneficial down the road.

This will benefit Memphis in the long-run, but stunted his recovery from the start. It’s also an easy explanation for why the 3-6 month number is being overshot.

The second contributing factor here is simply the cautiousness that the Memphis Grizzlies’ organization tends to take when allowing a player to recover. We’ve referenced Justise Winslow‘s return before, but the general idea is that, according to, the Grizzlies want Jackson to be 110% healthy by the time of his return.

They’re not going to throw him back into the game at risk of creating new long-term complications. Rather, he’ll be riding the bench until he’s better off than he was when he sustained the injury.

Are the Grizzlies stuck at .500 without JJJ?. dark. Next

After having some confidence during the All-Star break that he would return soon, things have become foggy once again. We know that this team will be giving out another update in a few weeks, but it’s clear that predicting a timetable for his exact date of return is near impossible.