It looked bad when it happened, but the Grizzlies said it was just a bruise.
No, it’s bad, bad news and they are singing the blues in Memphis.
Zach Randolph will be out up to two months with a tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, reports the Commercial Appeal.
The injury will not require surgery and doctors will re-evaluate Randolph in two weeks.
This is the same knee where Randolph previously had microfracture surgery, although the two are unrelated. It is unclear how long he will be out (depends on the severity of the tear) but at least a month and more like six-to-eight weeks seems about right. Things you do not want to do is rush big men back from knee injuries, that just leads to future problems.
This injury is why the Grizzlies pulled the trigger on a three team deal to get Marresse Speights from the 76ers, a deal that had been on the back burner for a month but suddenly came to fruition Wednesday morning.
The injury occurred during the Grizzlies blowout loss to Chicago Monday when teammate O.J. Mayo landed awkwardly going to the rim and fell into Randolph’s knee. It looked bad but the team said it was just a bruise and that Randolph might have returned if the game were not such a thrashing. Turns out, maybe he would not have.
Randolph had been averaging 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds a game, numbers and efficiency that was down some from last season, but he was still the anchor of the Grizzlies offense down low. He was at the heart of their playoff run last season and their chances this season.
Memphis has already been snake bit with injuries. They lost a up-and-coming athletic big Darrell Arthur for the season and point guard Mike Conley has missed the last few games with a sprained ankle.
Like the Spurs, this injury leaves the Grizzlies in a tough spot as they will have to fight to just make the playoffs in a deep Western Conference. Memphis started the season 2-3 and in the next month alone they have four back-to-backs, play the Thunder twice, the Lakers, Clippers, Bulls and have some tough road trips. Memphis needs to find a way to hang around .500 through this to make sure they even make the playoffs in the West.