What the Memphis Grizzlies need to do to survive Ja Morant’s injury

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Memphis Grizzlies won their last basketball game in convincing fashion. But if you look at the stat sheet, you won’t see a familiar name. That’s because Ja Morant went down with a knee injury in the Grizzlies’ prior contest, keeping him out of the game.

In total, Ja Morant is currently projected to miss “at least a couple of weeks.” As Grizzlies fans know, these injuries tend to be stretched out, so Memphis basketball fans will hope that their star point guard has a smoother and faster recovery than Jaren Jackson Jr. did last season.

For a frame of reference, Morant had a similar injury in terms of severity last season and missed eight early-season games. A couple of weeks would have him missing a similar period of time.

What do the Memphis Grizzlies have to do to survive Ja Morant’s injury-related absence?

The Memphis Grizzlies, one way or another, will need to survive Ja Morant’s injury. This may not even mean that they finish with a winning record, so long as the team stays afloat. But what does “afloat” mean and how do they accomplish this?

For starters, they can’t lose every game. With the form that Taylor Jenkins’ team was in with Morant, this didn’t seem entirely far-fetched. Thankfully, you can check that one off the list, as Memphis already won their first Morant-less contest against the Kings, defeating Sacramento in dominating, 27-point fashion.

Moreso than actually winning, however, is the timing of these wins. The last time Morant was injured for an extended period of time, Memphis kicked off his absence by losing four of their first five games. But the team bounced back.

After this excruciating stretch, last year’s Grizz team bounced back, winning each of the three games leading up to Morant’s return. With their star point guard back, the Grizzlies would follow these three wins with four more. If Memphis can create some momentum near the end of Morant’s absence again, it could help his return feel smoother.

This would also be a great time to see the emergence of players who are getting a unique opportunity by helping pick up Morant’s 32.6 minutes per game. Desmond Bane can step into the inevitable playmaker role that seemingly fits him well, while Dillon Brooks can fulfill his huge shooting quota.

Next. 3 takeaways from Grizzlies' win without Morant. dark

If all goes well, Ja Morant’s supporting cast will have inflated confidence upon his return and the team will grow from this.