Grizzlies center Steven Adams has been out since January 22 after spraining the PCL in his right knee, but he appears to be nearing a return. Head coach Taylor Jenkins said Adams has begun 5-on-5 work in practices and the team is hopeful Adams could play by the end of the upcoming road trip, though that isn’t set in stone (Twitter link via Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian).
The road trip Jenkins is referring to starts Wednesday in Houston and ends next Tuesday in Los Angeles, so Adams could be back within around a week. Remarkably, despite missing the past 13 games, Adams still leads the NBA in total offensive rebounds with 214 (Ivica Zubac is second with 196).
The 29-year-old is averaging a career-high 11.5 rebounds (5.1 offensive) in 27.0 minutes per game through 42 games in 2022/23. The Grizzlies have gone 5-8 without Adams over the past month-plus.
Here’s more from the Southwest:
- Pelicans guard CJ McCollum has been bothered by a right thumb injury, which he described as a ligament issue, and plans to undergo an MRI “soon,” per Christian Clark of NOLA.com (Twitter links). “It’s not ideal,” he said. “I’m playing. I have to be better, and I will be better. I understand what’s at stake for us. What’s at stake for our seeding. And how these next few games are going to define our season.” As McCollum noted, the 30-31 Pelicans’ spot in the postseason is quite tenuous — they’re currently the No. 10 seed, but three teams are right on their heels for the final spot in the play-in tournament.
- Tari Eason‘s offensive numbers are solid, if unspectacular for a rookie — he’s averaging 8.7 points on .442/.347/.750 shooting splits in 19.6 minutes per game. However, the 21-year-old forward has made his presence felt on the other end of the court for the Rockets, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “I see a lot of people talking about some of the best defenders in the league,” Eason said as part of a larger quote. “I want to be one of those dudes they talk about. I feel like I’m the best rookie defender in this class.” Eason ranks sixth among rookies with 5.6 rebounds per night, per Feigen, and second in steals and deflections. His 2.8% steal percentage ranks fifth in the entire NBA, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
- The Spurs have had to use a couple of 19-year-old rookies — Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley — at point guard lately due to a mysterious foot injury to starter Tre Jones. According to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News, the Spurs aren’t quite sure what’s going on with Jones’ foot. “It’s a strange injury,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s one of the toughest young men on the planet. There’s nothing on the (MRI) film or anything like that. He just can’t go.”