Memphis Grizzlies star point guard Mike Conley will miss six to eight weeks with a fractured vertebrae, league sources told The Vertical.
Conley suffered a traverse process fracture in his back in a third-quarter collision during the Grizzlies’ loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.
For the Grizzlies, the loss of Conley is devastating to continuing the momentum of the franchise’s fast start under first-year coach David Fizdale. The Grizzlies (11-7) signed Conley to a five-year, $153 million contract extension in July – the richest long-term deal in league history.
Besides Conley, the Grizzlies are missing several key players: Chandler Parsons (knee), Zach Randolph (death of his mother), Brandon Wright (ankle) and James Ennis (leg).
Conley, 29, had started the season brilliantly for the Grizzlies, who had hoped this would finally be the season that he made the Western Conference All-Star team. He has averaged 19.2 points and 5.7 assists per game.
The Grizzlies will have to rely on young guards Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin to play significant minutes in Conley’s absence. The Grizzlies won’t be eligible to apply for a hardship exception until after Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
With the possibility that the Grizzlies could apply for the exception, creating a 16th roster spot, the Grizzlies plan to start working out free-agent point guards, league sources told The Vertical. Included among the several players expected to visit the Grizzlies for tryouts: Kendall Marshall, Toney Douglas and Will Bynum, league sources told The Vertical.
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