Written By James Herbert at CBSSports.com
Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley is not expected to return this season, coach Dave Joerger said. When Joerger was asked Monday about the possibility of Conley, Jordan Adams, Brandan Wright and P.J. Hairston playing again this season, he said, “I think we’ll see P.J. again,” via the Memphis Commercial Appeal‘s Ronald Tillery.
Conley has been dealing with Achilles tendinitis and has not played since March 6. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Memphis is dealing with an assortment of injuries, including star Marc Gasol being sidelined for the season after foot surgery, but is 41-36 and fifth in the Western Conference.
From the Commercial Appeal:
The Commercial Appeal independently confirmed that Conley was re-evaluated last week by team doctors. It was determined that it is in Conley’s best interest to not return to action until the 2016-17 season.
Barring a miraculous recovery by the time the postseason begins, Conley still walks with a limp, experiences soreness in the Achilles and requires a walking boot. The franchise and Conley, who will be a free agent this summer, are taking a cautious approach to his long-term future.
There also is a fear that Conley could suffer a ruptured Achilles just as Mario Chalmers did in a season-ending incident March 9 during the second half of a game at Boston.
Conley has shown an almost superhuman ability to play through pain. Last season, he pushed himself to be there for the Grizzlies in the playoffs despite a broken face and several other injuries. This year, though, that would be silly, and not just because of his upcoming free agency. Even if he came back and played at less than 100 percent, it is hard to imagine Memphis striking fear into opponents in the postseason. After all that he’s done for the franchise, it’s about time that he takes the cautious route.
The Grizzlies are on a six-game losing streak and have five games to go. They host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, visit the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, visit the Los Angeles Clippers next Tuesday and close the regular season in Oakland against the defending champs next Thursday. If Memphis’ slide continues, there is still danger of missing the playoffs, given that the ninth-place Houston Rockets are only three games behind.
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