UPDATE: Ja Morant does not have a fracture in his hand and officially is a game-time decision for Wednesday in Game 2, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins confirmed Tuesday.
Morant did some shooting and dribbling today, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN. However, not all the news is good for Grizzlies fans. An MRI showed more bruising in an already injured hand (something he suffered in the second-to-last game of the season), and then there is this report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
.@wojespn has the latest on Ja Morant:
"I do not sense a great deal of optimism around this Grizzlies team that Ja Morant will be ready to play in Game 2." pic.twitter.com/67KuD35Lix
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 18, 2023
It’s the playoffs, things change, but this is concerning for the Grizzlies.
Whether Ja Morant will play in a critical Game 2 Wednesday for the Grizzlies against the Lakers remains up in the air.
The good news: Further examination confirmed no breaks or fractures in Morant’s hand, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. That echoes coach Taylor Jenkins’ postgame comments that the X-rays were negative.
No breaks or fractures in Grizzlies star Ja Morant's right hand, sources say. His status remains up in air for Game 2 vs. Lakers with what's believed to be a significant pain tolerance injury. Reporting from Run It Back on @FanDuelTV: pic.twitter.com/MKqhnPamfY
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 18, 2023
There is no official update on Morant’s status for Game 2, although later on Tuesday the Grizzlies will have to release their first official injury report, which will give us some idea of his status. Charania called it a matter of pain management, but Morant was in a great deal of pain by his own admission.
“I’m in a good bit of pain,” Morant said postgame. “My main focus was to be out there for my guys. Another incident where, you know, that’s pretty much in jeopardy.”
Here are additional angles of Ja Morant’s injury as he comes down awkwardly on his right hand
Morant had already been dealing with a hand injury suffered on April 7 vs. the Bucks. pic.twitter.com/vTcJwWmunj
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 16, 2023
Morant is critical to the Grizzlies’ half-court pace and shot creation. Morant averaged 26.2 points and 8.1 assists a game this season, and the Grizzlies were 6.5 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court this season.
With Memphis having already dropped Game 1 at home to the Lakers, a loss without Morant on Wednesday night could be devastating to the Grizzlies’ playoff hopes.