Could Mario Chalmers Injury Be Last Straw For Grizzlies?
The hits keep coming for the Memphis Grizzlies, who already lost star center Marc Gasol (foot) for the remainder of the 2015-16 NBA season and had been dealing with a string of injuries to some key players.
Rio Goes Down
Add another to the list. Per reports, backup point guard Mario Chalmers is feared to be lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles. Chalmers crumbled to the ground in Wednesday night’s blowout loss to the Boston Celtics, untouched.
Ahead of MRI results, Grizzlies officials fear Mario Chalmers indeed ruptured his Achilles. Nothing final yet, but that’s the worry.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) March 10, 2016
The MRI hasn’t come back with an official determination of the injury, but non-contact injuries rarely end well and the man known as “Rio” was heard saying that he felt his Achilles “pop”.
None of that sounds good for Memphis, who brought on D-League standout Briante Weber in a related move to make sure they have enough depth at the guard positions.
Still in Good Shape
As bad as the Chalmers injury looks, this has been a rather resilient Grizzlies team that has braved a massive Gasol absence and gone 6-4 in their last 10 games.
Memphis has displayed so much grit, in fact, that they marched into Quicken Loans Arena earlier this week and somehow beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on their own floor.
As mangled as their roster looks, Memphis stands tall at a solid 38-26 through the first 64 games and till holds the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference’s playoff race. With star point guard Mike Conley returning shortly from a minor injury, there is hope the Grizz can hold onto that seeding and fight their way into the second round.
Of course, another depth hit won’t help, and further issues with Conley and power forward Zach Randolph (who has also missed time due to injury) could greatly hamper an over-achieving squad.
Memphis is sitting pretty at the moment, but the injuries could quickly add up with the likes of the Rockets, Mavericks and Blazers chasing them from behind. None of those teams are even as close as four losses away, while the 9th best team, the Utah Jazz, has nine more losses than Memphis at this point.
A rapid decline could send the Grizzlies reeling and set for a dreaded first round matchup with the defending champion Golden State Warriors, but it would take a lot for them to completely fall out of the playoff picture.
Conley and Randolph returning to the starting five should save the Grizz from an epic collapse, but the injuries they’ve sustained this season are surely too much to overcome.
Regardless of their seed, the Grizzlies can probably see the writing on the wall: that their stay in this year’s playoffs will likely be brief.
Memphis will claw and scrape, but their fate is sealed as “just another team” when it’s all said and done. Losing a quality bench scorer that can man multiple positions like Chalmers can only worsens the blow.
Memphis was already starting to become a tough bet on a per game basis, but this naturally hurts them going forward. If you had a sneaky bet on them going far in the playoffs, you may want to re-think that, as well.
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