In an unwelcome blow less than two weeks before the NBA season resumes in the Orlando bubble, two Western Conference play-off hopefuls have been dealt injuries to important players. Grizzlies’ forward Justise Winslow (hip) and Kings’ 2018 number two pick Bagley III (foot sprain) will not feature again this campaign.
Winslow must wait until 20-21 to make Grizzlies debut, after all
As reported overnight, the Memphis Grizzlies (32-33) announced that forward Justise Winslow will be sidelined for the remainder of the campaign with a hip injury.
He suffered the setback during an intrasquad scrimmage on Monday, as explained by the 24-year-old on Twitter.
Acquired at the trade deadline from the Miami Heat, the 6’6 small forward – who is also capable of playing PF too – averaged 11.3 points, four assists and a career-high 6.3 rebounds per game (11 matches, five starts) during a regular season ravaged by injuries.
Plenty of critical Heat and NBA fans have flooded his social media with a range of messages, suggesting this latest blow reiterates the belief that he’s “made of glass”.
Having made 241 league appearances since his rookie year in 2015-16, he’s missed 169 regular-season games to date.
If Memphis earn the eighth seed out West, they’ll have done so without an important member of their roster – a motivated individual looking forward to playing with his new teammates for the first time.
Kings dealt another devastating injury blow of their own too
It was two summers ago that the Sacramento Kings used their number two pick to acquire Duke’s Marvin Bagley III in an intriguing 2018 NBA draft class.
Despite showing flashes of his brilliance since then, persistent injuries – just like Winslow – have hurt the youngster’s development.
Unfortunately that trend has continued in the Orlando bubble too, with the 21-year-old set to miss the remainder of the campaign with a lateral right foot sprain.
If the Kings are to achieve an unlikely postseason finish, they’ll have to do so without Bagley’s services – who has a history of troublesome injuries plaguing him this term.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, he’ll be expected to need a walking boot for two weeks’ minimum and they didn’t feel it necessary to risk aggravation by bringing him back too soon, even in a best-case scenario where they reach the play-offs.
They’re currently tied with the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans, 3.5 games behind the aforementioned Grizzlies for the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
Talk about timing. Sacramento posted this YouTube video after practice, early following their arrival in the Orlando bubble.
Eight games remain, and this news is an unwelcome blow for Bagley:
October: Fractured right thumb during season opener – sidelined for 23 games
December: Left foot sprain – 8 games
January: Aggravated previous foot sprain – 21 games
He finishes his second season having averaged 14.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 25.7 minutes per game.
The Kings resume the campaign on August 1 against the Spurs (27-36). Before then, the Grizzlies return to action against the Blazers (29-37) the previous evening.