Mike Conley hasn’t looked great to start the season. He’s shooting under 39 percent from the floor overall, just over 31 percent from three and not having a profound impact on the Memphis Grizzlies offense. They’re actually scoring slightly more points per 100 possessions when he’s off the court—an unsettling split that runs counter to the past few years’ worth of results.
Something clearly isn’t right, and we learned what on Wednesday.
Conley is dealing with an Achilles injury, one that forced him to sit out of the Grizzlies’ Wednesday night loss to the Indiana Pacers:
Fizdale confirms in pregame that Mike Conley (Achilles) will sit out tonight against Indiana. Conley is getting day-to-day evaluations and maintenance on the foot. We'll see where it goes from here.
— Michael Wallace (@MyMikeCheck) November 15, 2017
Though Conley is officially listed as day-to-day, the outlook sounds a little more bleak than that. As head coach David Fizdale said, per Peter Edmiston of The Commercial Appeal, the point guard has been playing hurt all year:
Fizdale, on Mike Conley's injury: "He can't hide it. He's been giving us everything he's got, but he's doing it on one foot. We've got to figure something out to get him better and back to us as fast as possible."
— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) November 16, 2017
Achilles injuries are a big deal, especially when a player has already dealt with them in the past. Conley was shut down at the end of the 2015-16 season with tendinitis in his left Achilles—the same Achilles that is bothering him now.
Playing through these ailments is risky. Then again, we shouldn’t expect anything less from Conely. He’s slogged through facial fractures and, just last season, shattered a timetable for return from fractures in his lower back. Of course he’s trying to tough out some Achilles soreness.
But, as Fizdale intimates, the Grizzlies need to figure out a better solution. They probably have to shut him down for a while, just to see if rest and relaxation does the trick. That won’t do anything for their record, but they need him healthy and able for the long haul. Never mind just this season; he has three years left on his deal after this one. They need him ready to rock for the foreseeable future so they can begin to keep pace with the Western Conference’s gaggle of superpowers.