Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Memphis Grizzlies this season, fate stuck its dirty hand into the mix yet again and meddled around.
This week, in particular, has been exponentially tough from an injury standpoint, as it was revealed within just a 72-hour span that the team will be moving forward without Ja Morant (season-ending shoulder surgery) and Marcus Smart (dislocated finger) in the lineup for varying stretches of time.
Now, following Friday's loss to the LA Clippers, Memphis sees another key backcourt talent heading to the injury report, as budding star Desmond Bane sustained a grueling ankle injury midway through the third period that relegated him to the sidelines for the remainder of the night and, likely, is to hold him out for an extended time moving forward.
The Grizzlies have become one of if not the most injury-ravaged teams in the entire association in 2023-24 and, when asked during a post-game presser about the challenges that come when trying to keep the team motivated amid such adversity, head coach Taylor Jenkins provided an honest retort on their experience.
Taylor Jenkins talks challenges of injury-plagued Grizzlies season
"Probably earlier in the season it was a shock moment because they piled up quickly so early in the season. I hate to say that the fact that we've gone through it kind of just toughens up your skin a little bit more, toughens up your spirit a little bit more. When Ja was out, Marcus [Smart] was out, Luke [Kennard] was out, obviously, we've had Steven [Adams] and [Brandon Clarke] out the way the guys were fighting throughout even though we weren't getting the results was great, how we approached every single day. Obviously, Ja comes back, Marcus, Luke we kind of take on a different edge and swag and stuff, which you would expect. Right now it's one after the other [but] our guys' spirits have been great. I think it's a great balance. We just go to continue picking each other up and my mentality is right on to the next play, right on to the next opportunity [for] the next guy, how are we going to help them help us get better. "- Taylor Jenkins
Jenkins would continue on to say that aside from the active players keeping their heads high, those that have been relegated to "street clothes" have also been quite animated and lively from the sidelines in the morale department, specifically singling out Smart for his contributions.
Though he would acknowledge that there's still no definitive word on the timeframe that Bane will be held out of the rotation, he expects the guard to be right there next to Smart cheering on his teammates.
With this latest instance with the 25-year-old, the Grizzlies are now expected to have at least six of their regular core members out of the lineup for the time .