Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley will be back in the lineup tonight, three weeks after fractures were found in his lower back, tweets Chris Vernon of Grizzlies.com. He participated in the team’s shootaround this morning before being cleared for game action (Twitter link).
Conley was expected to “minimally miss approximately six weeks” when doctors discovered the fractures on November 29th. The original plan called for him to be re-evaluated around the end of the year to see when a return might be possible. Conley was forced out of a game the night before with a lower back injury, which turned out to be a transverse process fracture in the vertebrae.
Conley’s return from injury will coincide with the return to Memphis by former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger. He was hired by the Kings shortly after being fired by the Grizzlies in May.
“Both of us know so much about each other and the schemes we like to do and how we play,” Conley said of the chance to face Joerger. “It will be good to see him and good to compete against him.” (Twitter link).
Before the injury, Conley had been one of keys to Memphis’ early-season success, averaging 19.2 points and 5.7 assists per game. The 29-year-old is in the first-year of a record-setting five-year deal worth more than $150MM.