Mike Conley is arguably the most underrated player in the NBA, an All-Star level point guard who plays in the shadow of Memphis’ massive front line of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. He is the perimeter balance to their outside game plus is an elite defender.
And he’s injured.
Conley sat out Friday night when the Grizzlies barely held on to beat the Jazz on the road. Officlally, Conley suffered a sprained right foot Wednesday night against the Pelicans, and it’s something that could have Conley sitting the rest of the regular season. It could linger and impact him come the playoffs.
Conley said the injury feel like he’s constantly walking on a golf ball. There is inflammation and swelling above the plantar fasciitis, making it so Conley can’t put much pressure on his right foot or run and jump effectively.
There also is a notion that Conley could miss the Grizzlies’ final three regular-season games – something Conley hoping isn’t the case.
“I don’t want to shut down. I’d like to be playing and in a rhythm going into the playoffs as opposed to sitting,” Conley said. “But I’ve a had a bad little stretch with injuries. I don’t know what the smart thing to do is but I’m going to do the right thing for myself and the team.”
More than a sprain, that sounds a little like plantar fasciitis. Something that would linger into the playoffs and impact Conley.
Memphis is currently the two seed in the West but is just half a game up on San Antonio, one up on Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers. They are already without Tony Allen, their best perimeter defender, and missing Conley as well for the remaining three games of the regular season could see them fall down the standings.
But if Conley and Allen are not ready and close to 100 percent for the playoffs the Grizzlies could be one and done. They could be anyway, a number of people around the league see the Grizzlies’ success as matchup dependent — if they stay the two seed and get Dallas they likely advance, get the Clippers or Spurs and they may be in big in trouble.
Especially if Conley and Allen are not 100 percent. And they may well not be.