Grizzlies rule out Ja Morant (hand) for Game 2 vs. Lakers

Update: the Grizzlies responded with a 103-93 win to even the series at 1-1. Original article below.

If the Memphis Grizzlies are going to bounce back from their Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, they'll have to do so without Ja Morant.

The All-Star point guard was ruled out for Game 2 on Wednesday due to right hand soreness, the Grizzlies announced. He was previously considered questionable but was reported to be a game-time decision.

Morant sustained the injury in the fourth quarter of Game 1, when he fell after a drive into the paint and landed hard on his right hand. He left the game and did not return.

Morant wasn't optimistic about his chances for Game 2 three days later. He was seen practicing with a heavy wrap on his injured hand Tuesday and reportedly got some dribbling and shooting in.

The question now turns to whether Morant will be ready for Game 3 on Saturday in Los Angeles and if the Grizzlies will be facing a 2-0 hole that day.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - APRIL 16: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies warms up before Game One of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers at FedExForum on April 16, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Ja Morant is out for Game 2 against the Lakers. The Grizzlies can only hope that's all he misses. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) (Justin Ford via Getty Images)

It goes without saying the Grizzlies have a drastically reduced chance of getting past the Lakers without Morant. The Lakers were already looking more dangerous than your typical No. 7 seed after finishing the season 17-8, but Memphis simply isn't the same team without its top player.

Morant finished the regular season averaging 26.2 points, 8.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game, but he missed several games in March after he flashed a gun in a strip club during an Instagram Live that resulted in the Grizzlies sidelining him and the NBA suspending him eight games while he sought help for his mental health.

The Grizzlies went 40-21 in games Morant played this season and 11-10 in games he missed.