The last time Steven Adams stepped on the court for the Grizzlies it was Jan. 22. Since then, Adams has watched from the bench and training room while working to recover from a sprained posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Adams has watched the Grizzlies go 20-15 in his absence, but they do not pose the same threat without him.
Which is going to be an issue because he likely is out for the playoffs, too, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
ESPN Sources: Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams is likely to miss the postseason with his injured right knee. Adams, who underwent a stem cell injection a month ago, has been out with a PCL sprain since late January. pic.twitter.com/VtMnKhlHFq
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 8, 2023
That leaves the Grizzlies particularly thin along the front line because backup center Brandon Clarke is out for the season with a torn Achilles. To add some depth, the Grizzlies converted rookie power forward Kenneth Lofton Jr.‘s two-way contract to a four-year, $7 million deal, ESPN reports (it’s unlikely any season past this one is guaranteed).
Coach Taylor Jenkins has tried a variety of starting lineups with his two bigs unavailable, from starting Xavier Tillman at the five to going small and moving Jaren Jackson Jr. to center and starting Luke Kennard at the two for more shooting.
None of that will make up for not having Adams in the playoffs, which the Grizzlies enter as the No. 2 seed in the West. He does the little things the Grizzlies need — he sets rock-solid screens, is critical to their rebounding, brings a physical defensive presence to the paint — that nobody else does. A healthy Adams makes the Grizzlies much more dangerous, and he will be missed if he is indeed out for the entire playoffs.