The Memphis Grizzlies made history on Saturday night with a 123-108 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, which extended their current winning streak to a franchise-record-tying eight games. Unfortunately, it wasn't all good news for the Grizzlies.
Veteran forward Dillon Brooks left with an ankle injury early in the second quarter and did not return to the game. And he won't be back anytime soon. Brooks will miss at least three-to-five weeks with a sprained ankle, and could be out until after the All-Star break in mid-February, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
With just over 11 minutes left in the second quarter, Brooks got out on the fastbreak and tried to get all the way to the rim. As he made the final step of his drive, he landed on Brandon Boston Jr.'s foot and rolled his ankle. His foot turned all the way inwards, and Brooks was grimacing in pain before he even hit the ground. Brooks was unable to put any pressure on his leg once he got up, and had to be helped off the floor by his teammates.
This is a really unfortunate break for Brooks, who had only just returned to the lineup after a stint in the health and safety protocols. The matchup with the Clippers was just his second game back after missing six while dealing with COVID-19. Brooks also missed the first 10 games of the season with a broken hand.
Despite all of the injuries, Brooks was in the midst of the best season of his career. His 18.4 points (second on the team behind only Ja Morant), 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.3 steals per game are all career highs, and he's one of the most tenacious backcourt defenders in the league. His scoring, toughness and versatility has been an important part of the Grizzlies' 27-14 start, which has them in fourth place in the Western Conference.
If there's any silver lining for the Grizzlies, it's that they have arguably the deepest team in the league. The likes of Desmond Bane, De'Anthony Melton, Tyus Jones and Kyle Anderson are all more than capable of taking on a bigger role while Brooks is out. They'll need Brooks back and operating at 100 percent come playoff time, but during the regular season they'll be able to cope without him.