Southwest Notes: Morant, Doncic, Williamson, Jones

Grizzlies star Ja Morant is making progress in his rehab from a left knee sprain, but his timeline for a return still hasn’t changed, according to Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Morant suffered the injury against the Hawks on November 26.

“He’s been responding really well to the treatments, the lift sessions that he’s had and we’re sprinkling in just small doses of on-court work just to make sure his knee’s moving and seeing how he’s responding day to day,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said.

As we previously relayed, Jenkins said Morant would miss multiple weeks. Prior to injuring his knee, the 22-year-old was averaging a career-high 24.1 points per game in 19 contests. Memphis has still managed to win all three of its games without him, including a record 73-point victory over Oklahoma City on Thursday.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic (left ankle soreness) will miss Saturday’s contest against the Grizzlies, the team announced on social media (Twitter link). Joining him will be Kristaps Porzingis (left knee contusion) and Willie Cauley-Stein (personal reasons). Dallas is just 4-6 in its last 10 games.
  • Andrew Lopez of ESPN examines whether the return of Zion Williamson can stabilize the Pelicans‘ season. Williamson (foot surgery rehab) has yet to play this season, leading to New Orleans accruing the third-worst record in the West at 7-18. In 61 games last season, he averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 33.2 minutes on 61% shooting.
  • Pelicans second-round pick Herb Jones has become one of the league’s best young defenders, William Guillory of The Athletic opines. Jones was drafted by New Orleans in July after spending four seasons at Alabama. “To be great on defense, you have to really want it,” he explained. “You have to play with a different kind of aggression, a different kind of desire. I take pride in always being the guy who’s ready to lay it all out there for my teammates. That’s what I care about the most.”
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