Marcus Smart Out At Least Six Weeks With Finger Injury

Veteran guard Marcus Smart has suffered a “severe” injury to his right ring finger and is out at least six weeks for the Grizzlies, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Memphis confirmed the news in a press release (Twitter link), saying that Smart sustained a “rupture of the proximal interphalangeal joint central slip” in Tuesday’s game vs. Dallas. He’ll be reevaluated in six weeks, per the team.

The 2022 Defensive Player of the Year has only made 20 appearances in ’23/24, which is his first season with the Grizzlies after being acquired in an offseason trade. He missed 17 games with a left foot sprain.

Statistically, Smart is all over the map this season. He’s averaging career highs in points (14.5) and steals per game (2.1), but rebounding at a career-worst rate (2.7), averaging his fewest assists in eight seasons (4.3), and turning the ball over more than ever before (3.1) in a higher-usage role with Ja Morant missing most of the season due to suspension.

Morant will miss the remainder of ’23/24 after undergoing shoulder surgery, and now Smart will be sidelined through at least mid-February. Obviously, Smart’s injury is yet another unfortunate turn of events for a team that has been decimated by injuries to key players.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, the Grizzlies can apply for a hardship exception with Morant, Smart, Steven Adams (knee surgery) and Brandon Clarke (Achilles recovery) out with long-term injuries. The exception would be granted after Monday’s game and would create an extra roster spot; it’s worth noting that Memphis signed former Minnesota guard Jaylen Nowell to a pair of 10-day hardship deals earlier this season (Shaquille Harrison also received one 10-day contract).

Recently-promoted wing Vince Williams is a candidate to take on more defensive assignments with Smart injured, while other young players like David Roddy, Ziaire Williams and Jacob Gilyard could receive more minutes.

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