Mike Conley was in the building to watch the Grizzlies close out the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night, hanging out in a luxury box just a couple days after facial surgery to repair multiple fractures following an inadvertent elbow from C.J. McCollum in Game 3.
The big question is when Conley will be back on the court? Memphis tips off against Golden State in the next round on Sunday, and the Grizzlies need his defense against the loaded Warrior backcourt (nothing against Beno Udrih, Courtney Lee, and Nick Calathes, who are doing their best, but it’s not the same).
The answer is nobody knows. And everyone with Memphis is tight-lipped about a potential timeline. That includes Conley, who was interviewed by TNT’s Lewis Johnson and showed a face remained quite swollen. It didn’t look good, but Conley said it was vastly better than it was a couple days ago, after surgery that put two new steel plates in his face.
At some point, the healing will reach a place where he will get cleared by doctors to play in a mask, but when that point is nobody knows exactly. Conley said he hoped to be back “sooner rather than later.”
But looking at his face in this interview, it wouldn’t be a shock for him to miss the first game — or few games — of the next round still. There is still a lot of swelling there, a lot of recovering to do.