Grizzlies’ Tony Allen has strained left calf, will miss at least start of playoffs

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Memphis was already facing long odds going into a playoff series against the Spurs — a team that plays the Grizzlies’ style but better — and now things just got worse.

Tony Allen will miss at least the start of the playoffs — and maybe all of them — with a strained left calf muscle, the team announced. Here is the wording from the official press release:

Grizzlies guard Tony Allen has been diagnosed with a strain of the medial gastrocnemius muscle (calf) in his right leg. Allen is out indefinitely and will be continually re-evaluated while beginning rehab immediately.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports added these details.

The injury came in the first half of a meaningless game Wednesday night. And you wonder why teams rest guys.

Allen averages 9.1 points per game for the Grizzlies, but that’s not his primary role — he is an All-NBA Defensive Team level defender at the guard spot that the Grizzlies rely on to help shut opponents down. The Grizzlies outscore opponents by 1.2 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court, they get outscored by almost a point per 100 when he sits.

This means Vince Carter will have a larger role for Memphis in the postseason, which is a boost to the offense but hurts defensively — Kawhi Leonard didn’t have a great regular season against the Grizzlies because Allen was on him. Now things will open up for the Spurs’ best player. Also, expect to see more Troy Daniels and James Ennis for the Grizzlies.