The Grizzlies have put out a statement (via Twitter) confirming the diagnosis and announcing that Clarke will be out indefinitely. He’s expected to make a full recovery, per the team.
It’s a brutal blow for Clarke, who exited Friday’s game vs. Denver in the first quarter due to a non-contact lower leg injury that was feared to be serious. It generally takes upwards of a year for an NBA player to return from an Achilles tear, so Clarke is unlikely to be ready to go by the time the ’23/24 season gets underway in the fall.
Clarke, who signed a four-year, $50MM contract extension with the Grizzlies last fall, was having another strong season, averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 56 appearances (19.5 MPG) while shooting a career-high 65.6% from the field.
The 26-year-old has been an important part of Memphis’ frontcourt rotation along with Steven Adams, Jaren Jackson, and Santi Aldama. With Clarke sidelined, the Grizzlies may have to lean more heavily on reserves like David Roddy and Xavier Tillman. The team could look to free agency to fortify its front line, but doesn’t currently have an open spot on its 15-man roster.
It has been a day of bad news in Memphis, as the Clarke update comes shortly on the heels of an announcement that Ja Morant will miss at least the next two games while the NBA investigates a video that appeared to show him brandishing a gun at a strip club.