Grizzlies swingman Danny Green is targeting February 1 for his return from an ACL tear, he announced in the latest episode of his Inside The Green Room podcast. Memphis will be hosting the Trail Blazers on that date, one week from today.
Green, who spent last season with the Sixers, tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee during Philadelphia’s season-ending Game 6 loss to Miami in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last May.
The 35-year-old was attached to a first-round pick in the offseason trade that sent De’Anthony Melton to the 76ers, but the Grizzlies made it clear they didn’t just view him as a salary-matching piece. Despite a preseason roster crunch and the fact that he wouldn’t be ready to return for several more months, Green made Memphis’ 15-man roster to open the regular season in October.
Now, Green – who has already won titles with the Spurs, Raptors, and Lakers – believes he can help a young Grizzlies team realize its championship potential, as he tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“What I bring is definitely needed here: perimeter shooting and perimeter defense,” Green said. “I think I can bring maturity and help a young team understand what it takes to win. This has been an A-1 organization from top to bottom in handling this entire rehab with me.”
In recent years, many NBA players who have suffered torn ACLs have missed a full calendar year, or even longer, but Green will be making his return just eight-and-a-half months after sustaining his injury. He noted in his podcast that he’s fortunate to have been able to accelerate his recovery timeline.
“It’s not realistic (to come back from this injury this quickly),” Green said, per Wojnarowski. “Everybody’s body is very different, but I’ve been lucky … to have a pretty good surgeon, a pretty good body that healed really well and quickly, and the right people around me to help me get there. A lot of things had to fall in place for this to happen this way.”
As Green ramps up for his Memphis debut, it’s worth noting that he’s on an expiring $10MM contract and the Grizzlies have already been quite successful without him (their 31-16 record places them second in the West), so he could become a trade candidate at the February 9 deadline if the team wants to acquire another piece and needs to send out some salary.
However, general manager Zach Kleiman and head coach Taylor Jenkins have praised the veteran wing for the leadership he has brought to the franchise. And for his part, Green doesn’t sound like someone who would welcome a change of scenery.
“This is a place I hope that I can call home for the next couple years,” he told Wojnarowski. “I’m lucky to be in a great situation with a winning team.”