14 Jan

Grizzlies star’s shoulder tear ends his season after only nine games

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant will miss the remainder of the season with a torn labrum, the Grizzlies announced on Monday evening on social media.

From the Grizzlies’ official release:

At Saturday’s training session, Morant suffered a subluxation of his right shoulder. Following ongoing soreness and instability, Morant underwent an MRI that revealed an underlying labral tear.

Morant will undergo season-ending surgery and is expected to make a full recovery ahead of the 2024-25 season.

It is devastating news for the Grizzlies, who were finally starting to establish some momentum after a treacherous start to the season. Memphis was 6-3 in the nine games Morant had played in, over which he averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds.

Morant had missed Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, with what was deemed a sore right shoulder. He was also expected to miss Tuesday’s contest against the Dallas Mavericks prior to the season-ending announcement.

Following the announcement, Morant posted a blue heart emoji on X.


— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) January 9, 2024
Previously, Morant, who inked a five-year, $193 million rookie extension to remain with the Grizzlies in 2022, opened the 2023-24 season with a 25-game suspension as a result of multiple instances in which he brandished a firearm on social media.

There’s no way to spin this kind of setback as a positive, but if you want to look at the glass half full, the Grizzlies were probably too far back in the Western Conference standings to make a run at anything more than a Play-In Tournament spot after getting off to such a bad start without Morant. As it stands, the Grizzlies entered Monday with a 13-23 record, which puts them at 13th place. Would making the Play-In, without Steven Adams or Brandon Clarke, be worth losing a lottery pick?

I’m sure the Grizzlies would say yes, because they feel like they could’ve beaten anyone in a playoff series with a healthy Morant. But now they can go into a pseudo-tank and wind up with a high pick. The Grizzlies currently own the sixth-best odds for the No. 1 overall pick.

Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. are All-Star level players, and they can continue to develop the rest of this season as focal points without conceding touches to Morant, and Memphis can come back raring to go next season with a healthy Morant, potentially an even better Bane and Jackson, and a Adams and Clarke back on the offensive glass.

Again, this is a gut-punch for the Grizzlies. But it’s not a long-term killer. This season might well have been lost anyway. They can chalk it up as an official loss and start building toward what is still a really bright future.

For his career, the 24-year old Morant has averaged 22.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game.

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