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VOL. 131 | NO. 238 | Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Conley Injures Back in Grizzlies’ Lopsided Loss to Charlotte

By Don Wade

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Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley could miss six weeks after sustaining a back injury in Monday’s 105-84 loss to the Charlotte Hornets at FedExForum. 

Memphis Grizzlies guard Vince Carter kneels as he waits to enter the game Monday, Nov. 28. Carter was 2 of 9 from the floor in a tough night all around for the Grizzlies. 

(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Near press time, Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports reported that Conley had suffered a transverse process fracture of the vertebrae and  would be out indefinitely.

Conley’s back was injured in the third quarter Monday night when he was run over by the Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Michael Wallace Sr., editor of Grind City Media, was tweeting that surgery may not be necessary, but Conley is expected to miss six weeks with the fractures in his lower back. 

With only rookies Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin on the roster as point guards, the Grizzlies will have to explore the possibility of bringing in a veteran until Conley returns. Former Grizzly Mario Chalmers, who had Achilles surgery, could be one option if healthy and ready to go. But Cleveland is also looking for a backup point guard.

Conley stayed on the ground for a long time, finally walking off the court. He had scored 14 points with five assists. 

He entered the game needing 20 points to pass Pau Gasol as the team’s all-time leading scorer.

“A lot of guys looked like they were worried,” said the Grizzlies’ Tony Allen. “I think the game got away from us that point.”

Truthfully, the game got away sooner. But Conley’s departure torpedoed any realistic hope of a comeback. 

“At that point, you’re only concerned about the guy’s health,” said center Marc Gasol, who led Memphis with 19 points and eight rebounds.

Turning Point: The Hornets (10-7) closed the second quarter on a 19-4 run and carried a 56-39 lead into halftime. Memphis (11-7) never got the deficit back to single digits and trailed by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.

Nice Lines: Charlotte guard Jeremy Lamb put up 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting and had nine rebounds. Hornets guard Kemba Walker also scored 21 points. Grizzlies forward Jarell Martin posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Tough Night: Conley’s backup, Andrew Harrison, finished 1 of 8 from the field and 1 of 5 from distance and scored three points. He had four assists with just one turnover.

Vince Carter was 2 of 9 from the floor and 1 of 6 from behind the arc with eight points. Overall, Memphis went 7 of 29 from 3-point range for 24.1 percent. 

Off the Bench: Lamb’s 21 points led the Charlotte bench’s 48-point night. The Grizzlies had 32 points from the reserves, with Martin’s 11 leading the way.

The Grizzlies’ Wade Baldwin finished with six points and three assists, three rebounds and one turnover, in 15 minutes.

Coach Talk: Head coach David Fizdale on rookie Troy Williams following his 18-point effort in the win at Miami Saturday with a ragged night vs. Charlotte: “(Rookies) play great, then they try to duplicate (that) game. He took some random shots and had some random possessions, but once the game settled in I thought he started becoming himself again.”

Locker Room Chatter: “That was a winnable game,” Allen said. “And it took me by surprise.”

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