A wild transaction cycle is in the center of the frame in the NBA world as July arrives. From Kevin Durant’s trade request to a blockbuster deal between the Spurs and Hawks to send Dejounte Murray to Atlanta and myriad other moves, basketball observers are busy with the frenzy but, on Thursday evening, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported interesting and potentially concerning injury news with regard to the Memphis Grizzlies. Wojnarowski noted that standout big man Jaren Jackson Jr. will be sidelined for at least four months after undergoing foot surgery to address a stress fracture, with the Grizzlies then releasing an official statement confirming the details.
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) June 30, 2022
Given the timing of the announcement, a four-to-six month timeline would place the start of the 2022-23 season very much in question for Jackson. Even a four-month recovery would cause Jackson Jr. to miss opening night, and a six-month timetable would keep him out until January. Fortunately, the Grizzlies have considerable depth on their roster and big-picture aspirations that should not be curtailed by an early-season absence for Jackson Jr., but he also has a history of injury concerns.
Jackson Jr. enjoyed his best season as a professional in 2021-22, leading the league in blocking 2.3 shots per game and averaging 16.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. The 22-year-old also began to realize the considerable defensive potential that made him a top-five pick in 2018, and he is a foundational piece alongside Ja Morant in what Memphis is building after a tremendous 2021-22 campaign. In his absence, the Grizzlies can lean on the likes of Brandon Clark, Xavier Tillman, and first-round picks David Roddy and Jake Laravia, but Memphis will not be at its best until Jackson can return at 100 percent.