Southwest Notes: Lewis, Morant, Adams, Grizzlies, Kleber

Pelicans point guard Kira Lewis played in an NBA game for the first time in a little over a year in Tuesday’s loss to Utah, writes Christian Clark of The 21-year-old, who tore the ACL in his right knee last December, finished with four points and one rebound in six minutes.

It’s been a long year,” Lewis said. “If anything, I have learned patience. With this leg, I couldn’t rush it or nothing. I just had to be patient and take it day by day. Here we are.”

The third-year guard added that the most challenging part of the rehabilitation process wasn’t physical.

That’s probably the toughest, managing the mental,” he said. “Because you know you can’t play basketball. That’s something you have been doing your whole life. Just take it day by day. Talk to your people. And keep on moving. Use it as motivation.”

The Pelicans picked up Lewis’ fourth-year option for 2023/24, so he’ll earn a guaranteed $5,722,116 next year. Lewis, the No. 13 overall pick of the 2020 draft, will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the offseason.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Ja Morant and Steven Adams were both sidelined for the Grizzlies in Monday’s blowout victory over the shorthanded Hawks, but they were full participants in Wednesday’s practice and are “trending towards playing” on Thursday against Milwaukee, per Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). Morant is averaging career highs in points (27.7), rebounds (6.6) and assists (7.8), while Adams leads the NBA in offensive rebounds per game (4.8) for the second consecutive season.
  • The Grizzlies‘ bench has struggled to an extent this season, partly due to injuries, but Monday showed why the second unit has a lot of potential, Cole writes for The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Tyus Jones and Brandon Clarke and had productive games starting in place of Morant and Adams, and some little-used reserves also had strong outings. “We’re deep,” Xavier Tillman said. “It’s a real 15 deep. Nobody’s role is too extreme to where we need them to do more than they’re capable of.” Memphis is currently 18-9, tied with New Orleans for the best record in the West.
  • Head coach Jason Kidd told reporters on Wednesday that Mavericks big man Maxi Kleber suffered a hyperextended knee in Tuesday’s practice, which is why he was ruled out for Wednesday’s game against Cleveland, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). The Mavs are still evaluating Kleber’s condition to determine how much time he might miss.
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