Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has been upgraded to questionable for Friday night’s matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Ja Morant has been nursing a left ankle sprain since the Dec. 28 contest against the Brooklyn Nets, in which he was forced to exit the game after suffering what looked like a devastating leg injury.
The confident 21-year old sent out words of inspiration after the injury, which fortunately ended up being far less serious for Ja Morant than it initially looked.
“ every setback is a setup for a comeback. God wants to bring you out better than you were before.”
heard you 🙏🏽🖤
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) December 29, 2020
The Grizzlies released their official injury report on Ja Morant and other players for the Jan. 15 clash with Minnesota.
Ja Morant (LT ankle sprain)
Jaren Jackson Jr. (LT knee meniscus surgery recovery)
Jontay Porter (RT knee soreness)
Killian Tillie (RT hamstring strain)
Justise Winslow (LT hip displacement)
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) January 14, 2021
Prior to getting hurt in the third game of the season, the 2020 Rookie of the Year had picked up right where he left off (pre-bubble). Ja Morant dropped 44 points and nine assists in the opener against the San Antonio Spurs, and followed that up with 28 points and seven assists on Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks.
In his dazzling rookie season, the explosive point guard averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists per game in 67 starts. Ja Morant had arrived.
The young Grizzlies have admirably held their own without Ja Morant (and Jaren Jackson Jr.). Head coach Taylor Jenkins’ team is currently ranked ninth in points per game allowed and fourth in defensive rating.
However, Memphis clearly needs Ja Morant’s scoring and playmaking, as the team is ranked bottom-five in points per game and offensive rating.
As it stands, the Grizzlies are 5-6, with their last victory coming against the Timberwolves, 118-107, at the Target Center on Wednesday. The loss dropped Minnesota to 3-8. Center Jonas Valanciunas led the way for Memphis with 24 points and 16 rebounds, while Grayson Allen added 20 points off the bench.
In Morant’s absence, Dillon Brooks has largely served as the team’s No. 1 option on offense. The fourth-year wing is averaging a career-high 16.6 PPG in 11 games, albeit with inefficient .387/.320/.826 shooting splits.