Lakers catch huge break with latest Ja Morant injury update

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers may not have to face Memphis Grizzlies All-Star guard Ja Morant in Game 2 of their first-round series.

There is “significant doubt” that Morant will be able to play in Wednesday night’s Game 2 matchup, according to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

Morant went down hard in Game 1 on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter. Lakers star Anthony Davis stepped in to take a charge, and Morant came down hard on his hand. He left the game and did not return.

This is the second straight season where Morant has been injured in the playoffs. Last season, he suffered a knee injury against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals.

Prior to the injury, Morant had been playing well in Game 1 against Los Angeles. The two-time All-Star put up 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Morant exited the game with 5:48 remaining in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Tyus Jones. The Lakers held a 105-101 lead when Morant exited.

Over the final 5:48, Los Angeles went on a massive run, outscoring the Grizzlies 23-11 the rest of the way. Morant’s plus/minus in the game was a minus-8, but the Grizzlies ended up losing by 16.

Jones will likely be the top replacement for Morant if he can’t play in Game 2. Jones appeared in 20 games that Morant missed this season, averaging 16.8 points, 8.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

All in all, Morant missed 21 games for the Grizzlies with the team going 11-10 in those matchups.

This is a huge break for the Lakers, as they could take a 2-0 series lead before heading back to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.

The Grizzlies are dealing with multiple injuries to rotation players in addition to Morant, as both Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke are out for the entire postseason. That has made the team quite thin in the frontcourt to defend Davis.

There is still time for Morant to potentially feel good enough to play in Game 2, but for now it is looking unlikely. Game 2 between the Lakers and Grizzlies is scheduled to tip off at 4:30 p.m. PST on Wednesday, April 19.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.