The hits just keep coming to Memphis...
Marcus Smart was doing what he does Tuesday night against the Lakers, tightly defending Austin Reaves in the corner, when Smart stepped on Reaves' foot. Smart instantly went to the ground and stayed there in pain while the play continued at the other end. When play stopped, Smart was helped up and immediately limped back to the Memphis dressing room, not to return.
Now comes word Smart will be out for 3-5 weeks with a sprained ankle.
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) November 17, 2023
This is a punch to the gut for a team already without Ja Morant for the first 25 games of the season due to his suspension for waving a gun on social media, without starting center Steven Adams for the season due to a knee issue that dates back to last season, and without backup center Brandon Clarke as he recovers from a torn Achilles.
Smart has averaged 12.5 points and five assists a game this season. Derrick Rose is earning a return from his injury and likely will get as much run as he can handle at the one, with Jacob Gilyard soaking up the other minutes.
Without the explosive Morant or the wall-like screens of Adams, it's been hard for the Grizzlies to create good looks, despite the best efforts of Desmond Bane. The Grizzlies are 28th in the NBA in offense and now will have to get along without their starting point guard Smart for at least three weeks, and likely closer to a month.
The Grizzlies are 2-9 so far this season and it's possible that by the time Morant does return in mid-December the hole the team will have dug in a deep Western Conference will be difficult to climb out of. A team that finished second in the West both of the previous two seasons with 50+ wins will have to fight just to make the play-in this time around.