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The Memphis Grizzlies and star Ja Morant escaped the worst-case scenario with his right hand injury.
Morant suffered a soft tissue bruise during the team’s Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said Tuesday.
Morant will be a game-time decision for Game 2 on Wednesday.
The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania first reported Morant did not suffer a break or fracture.
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
No breaks or fractures in Grizzlies star Ja Morant’s right hand, sources say. His status remains up in air for Game 2 vs. Lakers with what’s believed to be a significant pain tolerance injury. Reporting from Run It Back on @FanDuelTV: pic.twitter.com/MKqhnPamfY
Morant’s health quickly became one of the biggest storylines of the Western Conference playoffs when he was hurt in the fourth quarter of the teams’ first-round series.
He braced himself on a scary fall and then screamed in pain while grabbing his hand before heading to the locker room.
The situation is all the more pressing for the Grizzlies because they lost home-court advantage with the Game 1 defeat. While Game 2 at home isn’t necessarily a must-win, it is difficult to envision their coming back to defeat the Lakers if they drop the first two contests before going to Los Angeles.
Morant missed 21 games this season, including an eight-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the NBA. He averaged 26.2 points, 8.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
Memphis doesn’t have anyone who can replicate his ability to impact the game in various ways, but it would rely on the backcourt combination of Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane and Luke Kennard if Morant is sidelined.