The Grizzlies have officially announced that backup big Brandon Clarke is done for the season with a torn Achilles. How will it affect not only the Grizzlies season but his career?
The Grizzlies can’t seem to catch a break today. Not only have they suspended Ja Morant for their next two games after his Instagram live debacle, but the Grizzlies also announced the status of injured big man Brandon Clarke. He is officially done for the season with a torn left Achilles, a devastating injury for any basketball player. Not only will this injury affect the rest of the Grizzlies season, but Clarke’s long-term future is suddenly in question.
Sports medicine is an ever-improving field, but an Achilles tear is still viewed as a potentially career-altering injury. Kevin Durant’s return to stardom following his own Achilles tear a few seasons ago was great to see, but it isn’t the norm. Players like Elton Brand, Demarcus Cousins, and even the late Kobe Bryant all suffered declines after Achilles tears. Kobe’s was also an age thing of course, but it’s still a concern.
Grizzlies should be concerned about Clarke’s ability to return to explosive play style
An Achilles injury is rough for any player, but Brandon Clarke’s game will make it even harder to return to normal. He plays with maximum energy as a rebounder and lob threat, using his explosiveness to play bigger than his 6’8 frame. He is one of the most efficient players in the NBA thanks to that play style. If he were to lose even a small amount of that explosiveness, it could be devastating to his future.
His age and relatively low playing weight will hopefully make his recovery easier for him. If not though, he won’t be able to rely on his jump shot to make up for his lost athleticism. The Grizzlies have to be very careful with how quickly they allow him to return to maximize his chances of coming back at full strength. For reference, Durant went roughly 18 months without playing a game before he was able to return. That would mean Clarke could be out all of next season as well.
If that’s the case, it could really alter the Grizzlies plan in both the short and long term. Do they feel they need to replace Clarke’s role not just for next year, but beyond as well? Hopefully, his recovery is looking good enough for that not to be the case, but nothing is guaranteed with these kinds of injuries.