Memphis Grizzlies point guard Michael Conley will be out six-to-eight weeks because of a transverse process fracture of the vertebrae. This according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman. The injury occurred Monday night when he took a knee to the back from Frank Kaminsky. Reports have said his progress evaluation will be in a month.
Conley, did sign a five-year, $153 million contract this summer, the richest contract in NBA history, is off to a great start this season. He is averaging career-highs in points (19.2), rebounds (3.6), blocks (0.6) and 3-pointers (2.5). Always a fringe All-Star performer, many thought this season he would finally break through. Conley is someone that the Memphis look toward for his good decisions on the court. They also count on his capability to distribute the ball as well as score. He is also a solid defender.
The loss is not only devastating because he is one of the better point guards in the NBA, but the Grizzlies also don’t have much to back him up. They are going into today’s game with an 11-7 record, so it may be hard to keep the momentum going forward. Besides Conley, the Grizzlies are missing several key players: Chandler Parsons (knee), Zach Randolph (death of his mother), Brandon Wright (ankle) and James Ennis (leg).
With these players now out, Memphis can apply for hardship but will have to wait until after the Los Angeles Laker game on Saturday.
Moving forward the Grizzlies will now have to rely on Andrew Harrison who will most likely start. He’ll be backed up by fellow rookie Wade Baldwin.
Harrison spent last season in the D-League, and is averaging 5.9 points and 3.4 assists but is shooting only 27.1 percent from the floor. Baldwin is averaging 3.5 points and 2.3 assists, shooting only 33.3 percent from the floor.
Also, Memphis will begin to work out point guards. Among those players will be Kendall Marshall, Toney Douglas, and Will Bynum, league sources told The Vertical.
As for Marshall, he last played for Philadelphia 76ers. He could never catch on to a team playing for four different clubs since being selected 13th overall in the first round. Douglas is a seven-year veteran, playing his last two seasons in New Orleans. Bynum, a six-year fixture with the Detroit Pistons,
As for Mike Conley, this is his second major injury in the last two seasons. Last year, Conley saw his 2015-16 season cut short by injury. Achilles tendinitis kept him out of the year’s final 20 games plus the playoffs. He is also 29-years old, which may take his body to heal longer than most. Also, his skills may be eroding; only Isaiah Thomas was a full-time starter at the age of 31.
You can view Conley’s injury here.