MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Memphis star guard Mike Conley apparently is a very fast healer.
The Grizzlies upgraded Conley from out to doubtful on their injury report Thursday night, less than three weeks after he broke bones in his lower back, an injury expected to keep him out at least six weeks. The Grizzlies cleared some roster space by assigning rookie guard Wade Baldwin IV to their D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, and waiving veteran guard Toney Douglas who had been signed under a hardship waiver.
Memphis also announced that rookie forward Deyonta Davis will miss up to eight weeks after tearing the plantar fascia in his left foot Tuesday night in a loss at Cleveland.
If Conley returns at any point before Dec. 26, he will beat the Grizzlies’ original estimate of when the guard’s injury would be re-evaluated.
The Grizzlies announced Nov. 29 that Conley would miss at least six weeks after being diagnosed with broken bones on the vertebrae of his lower back. Conley, who signed a five-year, $153 million contract in July, was hurt Nov. 28 during a loss to Charlotte taking a charge from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He went down hard on his back and stayed on the court in obvious pain before leaving the game.
He might have some company in returning to the court.
The Grizzlies listed guard James Ennis III as probable against Sacramento after an injured right calf has kept him out since he strained it Nov. 21.
Chandler Parsons, the Grizzlies’ top free agent signee this offseason, was upgraded from out to doubtful. Parsons has played only six games for Memphis, but the team said on its website that he has progressed from rehabilitating the bone bruise in his left knee to practicing.
Memphis is 7-2 without Conley, including wins over Golden State and Cleveland within the past week. Douglas was a big help coming off the bench in seven of those games averaging 5.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists after being signed Dec. 5. The Grizzlies (18-9) currently are fifth in the Western Conference.
The Grizzlies host Sacramento on Friday night, Utah on Sunday and Boston to wrap up their current home stand before going to Detroit.
This wouldn’t be the first time Conley returned quickly from an injury.
He turned in one of the gutsiest performances in NBA playoff history in 2015 after taking an elbow in the cheek during Game 3 of Memphis’ first-round series with Portland. Conley needed two metal plates inserted surgically to repair broken bones around his left eye and missed three playoff games before returning to score 22 points and lead Memphis to a dramatic win in Golden State.
Conley helped Memphis take a 2-1 lead over the eventual NBA champs in the Western semifinals until that injury took its toll.