Grizzlies center Steven Adams reportedly likely to miss the playoffs

The Memphis Grizzlies will be short a key starter for their upcoming playoff run.

Center Steven Adams is “likely” to miss the entire postseason due to his injured right knee, ESPN reported Saturday. Adams suffered a right PCL sprain in January and hasn’t returned to game action since then, receiving a stem cell injection in March to try to help the healing process. 

Following Adams’ stem cell injection on March 8, the Grizzlies announced that he would be reevaluated in four weeks even though they were reportedly hoping that he would return sometime in March. That obviously wasn’t the case, and while Adams doesn’t post the gaudiest stats (he averaged 8.6 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this season), his absence initially had a big impact on the Grizzlies. They went 4-8 in the first month Adams missed, but Ja Morant‘s return from his eight-game suspension on March 22 helped the Grizzlies right the ship and allowed them to recently clinch the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Still, Adams’ continued absence is a blow to a Grizzlies team that’s already missing a key frontcourt player. Forward Brandon Clarke suffered a torn Achilles in early March, ending his season. Xavier Tillman has started at center as of late for the Grizzlies, averaging 10.2 points and seven rebounds per game since he took on a bigger role following the All-Star break. 

To help add bodies in the frontcourt ahead of the postseason, the Grizzlies reportedly converted rookie forward Kenneth Lofton Jr.‘s two-way contract into a four-year deal, making him postseason eligible. Lofton, who won the G League’s Rookie of the Year award this season, has played off the bench for the Grizzlies as of late, averaging 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game this season.

In order to make room for Lofton on the roster, the Grizzlies reportedly waived rookie point guard Kennedy Chandler. The second-round pick averaged 2.2 points and 1.6 assists per game this season. 

Memphis will face the winner of Tuesday’s No. 7 vs. No. 8-seeded matchup in the play-in tournament in the first round of the playoffs. Entering Saturday, it’s unknown which two teams will play in that game. 

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