Grizzlies get bad news on Ziaire Williams injury — here’s what it means

Ziaire Williams, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Ziaire Williams, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

The Memphis Grizzlies gave a rare medical update on second-year wing player Ziaire Williams on Oct. 26, via the team’s public relations Twitter account. The Grizzlies, who have taken a somewhat clandestine approach in providing medical updates on players dealing with mid-term and long-term injuries in the Zach Kleiman-era, gave some insight as to what’s been troubling Williams.

For those unaware, Williams has not played in a game for the Memphis Grizzlies since the Oct. 7 preseason game against the Miami Heat.

How long will Ziaire Williams be out of action for Memphis Grizzlies?

The Grizzlies revealed that Williams is dealing with patellar tendinitis and will be out an additional 4-6 weeks, which is obviously a tough blow for a team in need of some bench scoring.

”Memphis Grizzlies wing Ziaire Williams continues to experience right knee soreness stemming from patellar tendinitis. Further diagnostic testing supports a return to play protocol involving progressive loading and an expected return in 4-6 weeks,” the release said.

That’s a short update, but there’s a lot to unpack, with the first being that Williams is experiencing active soreness/pain in his knee. Hopefully Williams is able to recover from the injury quickly with relatively limited or no pain moving forward.

Secondly, the injury itself is not one that usually requires surgery, which is good news. Patellar tendinitis, also known as “jumper’s knees,” is a fairly common injury, according to research from the Mayo Clinic. The injury is brought about by inflammation to the patellar tendon, which is the muscle that connects the kneecap to the shin and extend your knee when you walk, run or jump.

Third, Williams has undergone testing on the knee. This could mean he received imaging on the impacted tendon or the training staff could have put him through a series tests to examine the viability of him shifting, jumping and putting stress on the knee. Whatever testing that was done suggested that it was best for Williams to continue to rest.

Finally, there’s a part in the release that talks about “progressive loading.” This likely means Williams will slowly resume basketball activities and be on minutes restrictions while he rehabs and gets his body where it needs to be to compete for the Memphis Grizzlies.

With the provided timeline, we’re looking at a Ziaire Williams return from injury somewhere between Thanksgiving and Dec. 7. Glancing at the schedule, that would mean Williams could ultimately miss somewhere in the neighborhood of 18-25 regular season games by the time he comes back. With the current timeline, Williams might be able to return for the Dec. 9 game vs the Detroit Pistons.

The injury to Williams further complicates the current rotation for the Memphis Grizzlies. With Jaren Jackson Jr. and Danny Green still out of action recovering from offseason surgeries, the team cannot afford any further injuries with such limited and inexperienced depth.

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