NBA injuries: Ja Morant (knee) doubtful for remainder of playoffs

Tue, May 10, 2022
NBA News (AP)

NBA injuries: Ja Morant (knee) doubtful for remainder of playoffs
The NBA playoffs have unfortunately been marked by a fair number of injuries thus far.

The postseason injury bug has impacted some of the league's biggest stars and title-favorite teams, but there's still time to regroup ahead of the next round.

Here's where all the injuries stand after Monday's games.

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

The All-Star guard is doubtful for the remainder of the playoffs after suffering a bone bruise in his knee. Morant already missed the Grizzlies' Game 4 loss to the Warriors on Monday after exiting early in Game 3. He'd been averaging 38.3 points, 8.3 assists and 6.7 rebounds in the series, which Golden State leads 3-1.'

The 22-year-old blossomed into one of the best players in the league this season, earning Most Improved Player honors and likely an All-NBA selection after averaging 27.4 points while shooting 49.3% from the field.'

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

The All-NBA center is set to return for Game 3 of the 76ers' Eastern Conference semifinal matchup against the Miami Heat on Friday night, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Embiid has cleared the NBA's concussion protocol and took place in the 76ers' morning shootaround, but could be limited in minutes because of minimal conditioning this past week, per head coach Doc Rivers. Embiid suffered a right orbital fracture and mild concussion in the Sixers' series-clinching win against the Raptors last week. He'd already been playing through a ligament tear in his right thumb, which he suffered in the first round and reportedly planned to have surgery on after the season.

Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat

The Miami Heat will get their starting point guard back as Lowry is expected to return to action on Friday night. Lowry has sat out the past four games after sustaining a left hamstring injury during the third quarter of Miami's Game 3 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He appeared to injure his leg after getting tied up in a screen with Hawks small forward De'Andre Hunter, stepping awkwardly before losing his balance - and his shoe - in the process.

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

The Suns got their leading scorer back for Game 6 against the New Orleans Pelicans. Booker, who had missed the past three games after suffering a Grade 1 right hamstring strain in Phoenix's Game 2 loss last week, finished 5 of 12 - including 1-for-6 from distance - for 13 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

Middleton missed the remainder of the Bucks' first-round series against the Chicago Bulls after spraining his MCL in Milwaukee's Game 2 loss. Middleton exited the game early in the fourth quarter after slipping awkwardly and falling to the hardwood.

Middleton is reportedly dealing with a Grade 2 sprain, which will likely keep him out of Milwaukee's second-round series against the Boston Celtics and possibly the conference finals if the Bucks advance.

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Butler was out for Miami's closeout win over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 5 on Tuesday with right knee inflammation. He averaged 30.5 points - the second-best scoring average in the league this postseason - on 54.3% shooting in four games in this series prior to his injury.

The NBA fined Butler $15,000 for making "an obscene gesture" during the Heat's first-round win, the league announced Thursday.'

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Doncic returned to action for Dallas' Game 4 contest against the Utah Jazz on Saturday after missing the first three games of the series with a left calf strain he sustained in the Mavs' regular-season finale against the San Antonio Spurs. He put up 30 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 52.9% from the field.

Doncic was seemingly unbothered by his calf injury, tallying 33 points and 13 rebounds in Game 5 and 24 points and nine rebounds in Game 6, as the Mavs secured a second-round playoff berth against the Suns.

Robert Williams, Boston Celtics

Boston's star defensive center, who had been out since March 27 with a torn meniscus, returned to action Saturday and played limited minutes in Game 3 of the Celtics' first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. Williams came up with two points, two rebounds, one assist and a block in 16 minutes.

He added 14 points, three rebounds and three blocks off the bench in the Celtics' closeout Game 4 win.

Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat

Lowry did not play in the Heat's Game 4 win over the Hawks after sustaining a left hamstring injury during the third quarter of Miami's Game 3 loss. He appeared to injure his leg after getting tied up in a screen with Hawks small forward De'Andre Hunter, stepping awkwardly before losing his balance - and his shoe - in the process.

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets

Simmons, who the Nets traded for in late February, has been sidelined with a herniated disc since his arrival in Brooklyn. He did not play in Game 4 of the Nets' first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, despite earlier reports that he was on track to do so, due to reported back soreness.

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

LaVine was out for the Bulls' season-ending loss Wednesday in Game 5 of Chicago's first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks after entering COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The All-Star has averaged 19.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and six assists on 42.9% shooting through four games in his first postseason series.

LaVine is reportedly expected to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee during the offseason.

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls

Caruso was also out for Wednesday's Game 5 versus the Bucks, as he remained in the concussion protocol. The veteran guard exited Game 4 early after inadvertently taking an elbow to the face from Jevon Carter.

Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors

VanVleet was out for Monday's Game 5 against the Sixers with a strained left hip flexor. He played less than 15 minutes of Toronto's win in Game 4 on Saturday before limping off the court and tearing his jersey.

The 28-year-old guard previously dealt with a bruised knee this season, missing 14 games since Jan. 25.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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