Ja Morant out for about a month after suffering ankle sprain

Ja Morant will miss about a month, which could be killer for the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Memphis Grizzlies went into the season with playoff expectations, as they were just a few games away from making the postseason in Ja Morant’s rookie season. Their playoff optimism is starting to ebb away, as Morant left their game against the Brooklyn Nets in a wheelchair Monday night.

The Grizzlies confirmed that their high-flying point guard will be out anywhere from 3-5 weeks with a Grade 2 ankle sprain. The team is being cautious after his injury considering how important he is to the long-term health of the franchise.

Ja Morant has established himself as a star in Memphis

When the Grizzlies used the No. 2 overall pick in 2019 on Morant, they expected him to immediately take the reins at point guard after trading Mike Conley to the Jazz. Morant exceeded their wildest expectations, averaging 17.8 points and 7.3 assists per game in 67 games. Morant was averaging 26.3 points per game this season, and those numbers include him leaving the Brooklyn game early.

Morant’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Memphis. With backup De’Anthony Melton currently away from the team due to COVID-19 rules, Tyus Jones will likely be in line to start. Look for rookie first-round pick Desmond Bane to also see an increase in playing time, as his shooting can help replace Morant’s offensive production.

The Grizzlies have become overly reliant on Morant attacking the rim, even when the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jonas Valanciunas are available in the starting lineup. The West is as deep as it has ever been, and the Grizzlies will need Taylor Jenkins to really step up and show what a tremendous coach he is if they want to overcome the loss of Morant for such a long period of time.