The Memphis Grizzlies tough start to the NBA’s restart in Orlando got much worse on Tuesday, when the team announced that their young star forward Jaren Jackson Jr. would be out for the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee.
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) August 4, 2020
The second-year big man out of Michigan State was having a spectacular sophomore campaign, averaging 17.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for the upstart Grizzlies, emerging as one of the league’s best shooting big men. As the Grizzlies note in their release, the injury happened in the team’s loss to New Orleans on Monday night after he made contact on a shot contest and landed awkwardly, with testing revealing the torn meniscus.
For a Memphis team already struggling in the bubble, losing Jackson’s presence and production is a major blow. For Jackson, it’s another injury and rehab process to deal with after having missed time earlier this year with a knee injury and his season ended early as a rookie with a deep thigh bruise. The Grizzlies are already without Justise Winslow, who had hoped to make his Memphis debut in the bubble, and now must find a way to replace Jackson’s productivity.
It figures to mean more minutes for rookie Brandon Clarke, as they will likely ask more of the hyper-athletic and ultra-efficient Gonzaga product, as well as some serious shuffling of the wing and frontcourt rotation to try and find the right combinations of players. Memphis has gone 0-3 to start the seeding round, seeing their lead for the 8-seed slip away a bit and now the challenge of making the postseason gets all the more difficult with Jackson’s absence.