Memphis point guard Mike Conley missed almost all of last season, first to rest a sore Achilles (a chronic issue for him), then in January he had heel surgery to smooth out the bone issue there.
How well he can bounce back from all of that will go a long, long way to deciding how far back the Grizzlies bounce this year — ownership and management want to make the playoffs, but in a stacked West that is going to require a 20+ game improvement from Memphis.
Right now, Conley is taking it slow, he did not fully participate in the USA Basketball mini-camp in Las Vegas this week. However, he told Brian Windhorst of ESPN he expects to be ready to go for training camp come the fall.
“I’m doing really well. I wish I could’ve participated in contact stuff,” Conley said. “I think I could, but we’re being cautious and allowing me to get a full summer of rehab. I should be ready to go by training camp — I expect to be ready….
“With anything dealing with Achilles, it takes time and you got to be patient to deal with it,” Conley said. “Right now, it’s all starting to come together. I’m so used to making a move and I expect pain. I got used to pain with some of the moves. Now I make the moves and there’s nothing there, so that’s exciting.”
Pain with an Achilles is often a sign something worse is coming, so giving his body time to fully recover matters. Conley saying he doesn’t feel pain is a good sign.
Is that enough, and how much rest will the Grizzlies give him during the season are legitimate questions. Conley hasn’t played more than 70 games in four seasons, and his Achilles had a lot to do with that. How hard is Memphis going to push Conley and this roster to make a playoff push? That may get determined by their first 20 games or so, but it’s something to keep an eye on.