The Los Angeles Lakers’ series against the Memphis Grizzlies is one of the more intriguing first-round matchups as long as both teams can stay healthy.
That is already off to a rough start, however, as both teams had injury scares with their star players in the Lakers’ Game 1 win.
Anthony Davis suffered a stinger in his right shoulder and said he was not able to move it at the end of the first half, although he ended up being OK and was able to finish out the game.
Memphis lost Ja Morant in the fourth quarter when he went up for a dunk and Davis drew a charge. Morant fell down on his right hand and immediately looked to be in a lot of pain, running straight back to the locker room and not returning to the game.
While X-rays came back negative on Morant’s hand, he said postgame that his pain was a 10-out-of-10, putting his Game 2 status in jeopardy. After practice on Tuesday, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins revealed that Morant will be a game-time decision on Wednesday night due to a soft tissue injury, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
An MRI yesterday showed an aggravation of the bruising in the soft tissue in Ja Morant’s hand, an injury originally suffered vs. Bucks in last week of regular season. He did some shooting and dribbling today. https://t.co/9piyi1mlMx
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 18, 2023
Morant is as tough as they come and will surely want to be in the lineup for his team, although considering it is his shooting hand they need to be careful.
Regardless though, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham says they will prepare as if Morant is playing, via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Darvin Ham said the Lakers first need to focus on their own preparation, but will prepare as if Ja Morant will play. His status remains unknown for tomorrow.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 18, 2023
If Morant isn’t ready to go by Wednesday then he would get a couple more days off before Game 3 back in L.A. on Saturday night.
Should the Lakers win Game 2 though, they would be coming back home with a 2-0 lead which is why Morant and the Grizzlies may be more urgent in getting him ready for Wednesday night.
Russell says bounce back in Game 1 was result of great preparation
As far as the Lakers point guard goes, D’Angelo Russell had a much better Game 1 after struggling in the Play-In Tournament. He finished with 19 points, four rebounds and seven assists, saying his bounce-back performance was the result of great preparation.
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