COMMENTARY | With preseason action winding down, Memphis Grizzlies fans have many reasons to be excited about their team. But some questions still remain. Perhaps the most pressing question fans are asking right now is, "where is Tayshaun Prince?"
Prince has been notably absent from the team for several weeks. He is the only Grizzlies player who hasn't participated in an exhibition game thus far. There have been rumbles through social media that Prince had been suffering from a stomach illness which has prevented him from even practicing with the team lately. This rumor has now been confirmed and it appears that the situation was much more serious than many had imagined. According to the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, Tayshaun Prince has lost between 12-15 pounds due to his ailment and is still in a very weak condition. The illness has apparently been so severe that it's prevented Prince from even eating. Obviously, he is likely not prepared to return to NBA action immediately.
This news is certainly troubling to the Memphis Grizzlies as the regular season is set to begin in just one week. The team may very well be forced to begin without their starting small forward. Assuming Prince has not recovered by the team's season debut against the San Antonio Spurs on October 30th, head coach Dave Joerger does have some viable replacement options. Either Quincy Pondexter or three point specialist Mike Miller could easily fill the role in Prince's absence. This certainly is not an ideal situation though as it will substantially decrease the production available from the Grizzlies' second unit.
This sudden setback to Prince's health may also be detrimental to his potential trade value. With two years worth over $14 million still remaining on his contract, some have thought Memphis would be better off trying to part ways with the 33 year old. In August, I explained several other reasons why Tayshaun Prince is a misfit in Memphis and the team should consider their future with him (or lack thereof).
Starting off the season with one of your starters out because of a non-basketball illness is certainly not an ideal situation. But don't expect the Grizzlies to stumble just yet. Memphis will be able to replace Tayshaun Prince: either in the short term, or on a permanent basis.
Nicholas Naveiras is a lifelong Memphian, college student, and diehard Memphis Grizzlies follower. He has followed the franchise's on- and off-court progress since 2001.
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