After months of dormancy, the Memphis Grizzlies are now slated to once again take to the court for meaningful action Wednesday night, as they’ll be playing host to the New Orleans Pelicans for their 2023-24 regular season tip-off.
Though excitement is undoubtedly high amongst the franchise’s faithful followers, Taylor Jenkins’ club will be far from full strength for the contest.
From the suspension of Ja Morant to the recently broken news that Steven Adams has opted to undergo season-ending surgery to repair his right posterior cruciate ligament, coming into today the Grizzlies were already expected to be without a number of key contributors for the bout against NOLA.
Now, it appears yet another name has been added to this unfortunate category, as third-year big Santi Aldama has been ruled out for opening night due to a right ankle sprain, as per the league’s official injury report.
Grizzlies big Santi Aldama ruled out for season opener against Pelicans
According to the Memphis Grizzlies Communications Department, Aldama suffered the sprain during a recent practice and, though he is being shelved for game one, the injury is not considered to be serious with them labeling him as “day-to-day.”
Aldama has become quite a sound contributor in Memphis since being taken 30 overall back in the 2021 NBA Draft and is coming off an impressive sophomore season where he posted averages of 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and over half a block per game on 47.0 percent shooting from the field and 35.3 percent shooting from deep.
With the unfortunate injury to Adams, a popular belief was that the 22-year-old would now be tasked with taking on an advanced role within Jenkins’ rotation, with some going as far as to suggest he could realistically put forth a true breakout campaign in year three as a result.
Sadly, this hopeful uptick in production will be getting off to a latter-than-expected start with the news of his ankle sprain. Instead of Aldama, expect to see the Grizzlies rolling out David Roddy and perhaps even Kenneth Lofton Jr. frequently against the Pelicans during tonight’s affair.