Mike Conley to Miss Game 4, Possibly Out Longer
Considering Mike Conley has been playing on one leg for much of the 2014-15 NBA season, it’s been clear for quite some time that he’s one tough dude. His ability to play through injury might be getting pushed to the limit, however.
Per reports, Conley will sit out of the game four battle between the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers, and it is still not known when (or if) he will return during the playoffs. Conley suffered multiple facial fractures after being accidentally struck in the face in game three. There were no clear details immediately after the injury due to Conley’s face being too swollen, and the team won’t give an exact return time table until after he udergoes surgery. Conley is set to go under the knife on Monday.
With Conley sidelined for at least one game, the Grizz will turn to backup point guards Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes. Udrih is expected to play through his own ankle injury and will start against the Blazers in Portland in game four.
The Conley injury is big, as he did a great job covering Damian Lillard through the first two games and makes Memphis all that much better as a team defense, as well. The team could also hurt for points on offense, as Conley is a top-three scorer on the team and also facilitates a good amount of the offense.
On top of turning to Conley’s positional backups, Memphis will now have to lean harder on their two best scorers – Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Randolph hasn’t exactly lit it up in this series so far, but Gasol has had his way with Robin Lopez and Portland’s interior defense.
NBA bettors may want to chase the upset on Monday night with Conley out, while Portland’s success at home against the spread has been terrific all year. In that same breath, the Blazers just haven’t been themselves for some time now and the defensive-minded Grizzlies could easily pull off the sweep with a big win tonight.
Long-term, Memphis is projected to move onto the second round regardless of what happens in game four. Of course, if Conley can’t make a quick recovery, the Grizzlies’ already modest hopes of reaching the NBA Finals would be in serious danger.
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