Everything was going well for the Memphis Grizzlies. After an early 4th-quarter surge, the Grizzlies were on par to beat the Miami Heat again, this time in convincing fashion. They would go on to win the game, but not without something to worry about.
With under two minutes to go, Ja Morant walked over the sideline and dropped to the ground. There wasn’t a play in progress, so it was unknown how he had sustained an injury. Replay would give no clarification, as he dropped to the ground with the injury while the Heat were shooting free throws.
Leading up to this, he had been holding his lower back. There wasn’t a specific play that showed Morant injuring his back, but the broadcast crew showed a replay of a layup on the previous play in which Morant contorted his body awkwardly.
He would finish the layup through contact and continue to play defense on the next play. After a shooting foul, Miami was sent to the free-throw line and Morant continued to hold his lower back. He would make his way over to the sideline before he fell to the ground.
Morant would eventually be helped off of the court, walking extremely gingerly with heavy assistance from Memphis Grizzlies staff members. At this point, it is unclear what happened to Morant, but it didn’t look good.
An injury to Ja Morant could have severe negative implications for the Memphis Grizzlies
If this injury ends up being serious, it could not have come at a worse time. The Grizzlies are coming off of their second straight win against a winning team, taking down the 76ers on Sunday and the Heat on Tuesday.
They’re now firmly in the 8th spot of the Western Conference standings, giving themselves a decent cushion from the San Antonio Spurs, who are a game behind the Grizz. The Grizzlies also hold the tie-breaker, so in the event that they finish the year with the same record, Memphis would get the nod in the standings.
Every game will count from now through the rest of the year, so whether or not this is serious for Morant will be a huge storyline. As of now, it is unclear whether or not he’ll be able to play in Atlanta against the Hawks on Wednesday night.
Update: Taylor Jenkins spoke after the game and announced that Morant’s injury was nothing serious. He was experiencing some general tightness in his lower back, but felt better after leaving the court. It’s still unclear whether or not he’ll play on Wednesday night.