The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, winners of their last eight to get to 27-18 on the season, good for fourth and firmly separating themselves from the morass below them in the Western Conference playoff hunt.
They’ve done so despite some key contributors being in and out of the lineup through 45 games this season, as Ja Morant has missed 17 games (currently dealing with thigh soreness) and Dillon Brooks has missed 24. They have relied on their depth and talent that goes 10-12 deep on the roster to get to this point, and if they’re to stay in the top half of the West by the All-Star break that is going to have to continue.
Brooks, in just his second game back in the lineup, suffered a sprained ankle in Memphis’ win over the Clippers that will reportedly keep him out for 3-5 weeks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, which could stretch through the league’s mid-February All-Star break.
ESPN Sources: After suffering a left ankle sprain, Memphis Grizzlies G/F Dillon Brooks is expected to minimally miss three-to-five weeks — and could stay sidelined through the mid-February All-Star break. Brooks was injured in Memphis’ victory over the Clippers on Saturday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 9, 2022
Memphis has dealt with Brooks’ absences in the past this season and been able to weather that thanks to their aforementioned depth, headlined by Desmond Bane’s breakout season, as well as positive contributions from De’Anthony Melton and Tyus Jones in the backcourt. Brooks’ 18.4 points per game can be divided up among others, but where Memphis has found it most difficult in being without their starting shooting guard is on the defensive end, where his ball pressure and activity is missed.
This is a Memphis team that has just managed to keep winning no matter who is in the lineup this season, but another extended Brooks absence will apply more pressure to their depth to keep up its terrific production.