Ja Morant Expected To Play Wednesday

Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant is expected to return to action against Houston on Wednesday, coach Taylor Jenkins told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and other media members (Twitter link).

Morant has missed nine games since he stepped away from the game due to a number of concerning offcourt issues. He was later handed an eight-game NBA suspension, which was retroactively applied to the games he had already missed.

Morant participated in practice on Tuesday and expressed remorse for his prior actions while speaking to the media afterward, MacMahon writes.

“Obviously, I’ve made mistakes in the past that cause a lot of negative attention — not only to me, but my family as well, my team, the organization — and I’m completely sorry for that,” said Morant, who leads the team at 27.1 points and 8.2 assists per game. “So my job now is, like I said, to be more responsible, more smarter, and don’t cause any of that no more.”

While he was intoxicated during his infamous gun waving incident at a nightclub, according to the league’s investigation, Morant says he’s not an alcoholic. He sought out counseling during his hiatus.

“I don’t have an alcohol problem, never had an alcohol problem,” Morant said. “I went [to Florida] for counseling to learn how to manage stress, cope with stress in a positive way instead of ways I’ve tried to deal with it before that caused me to make mistakes.”

However, Morant knows he has to prove he can avoid similar issues in the future.

“Obviously took that time to better myself, get in a better space mentally,” Morant said. “It’s an ongoing process, a continued process for me. Obviously, I’ve been there for two weeks, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely better. So that’s an ongoing process for me that I’ve still been continuing since I’ve come out.”

Morant has started every game of his 240-game NBA career but might come off the bench in the short term. Morant said he’s willing to do that as he returns to a normal workload and Jenkins said it’s under consideration, MacMahon tweets.

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