Ja Morant could be making his return to the lineup shortly for the Memphis Grizzlies. The star second-year point guard is currently listed as questionable for Friday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves after missing his team's last eight games with a sprained left ankle.
The Grizzlies, fresh off of a surprising run into the Western Conference play-in game last season, are off to a slow 5-6 start thanks in large part to injuries. Neither Jaren Jackson Jr. nor Justise Winslow have played this season due to injuries, and that left an enormous burden on Morant early in the season. He averaged 36 points per game in the first two Grizzlies games of the season before his injury knocked him out.
Now he will return, and while 5-6 is hardly ideal, it's not exactly a deathblow to Memphis' playoff hopes in light of the tightly packed Western Conference standings. There are currently only three games of separation between the No. 2 seeded Los Angeles Clippers and the No. 13 seeded Sacramento Kings, so there is still plenty of room for movement if Memphis can get healthy.
If Morant can return soon, the Grizzlies should be somewhat optimistic on that front. In an interview with The Undefeated's Marc Spears published Thursday, Jackson said of his return from a torn meniscus "I have a timetable. It's not that far, believe me. It will probably sneak up on you, but it's something that remains to be seen." Winslow, who has a history of knee injuries and is currently recovering from a hip issue, does not have a clear timetable at this moment, but he is expected to play this season.
The young Grizzlies have battled through terrible injury luck so far this season, but they've kept their heads above water while waiting for their best players to return. Now, those returns are closer than ever.