Ja Morant will make NBA return after eight-game suspension for strip club gun scandal off the BENCH tonight – as Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins reveals that role ‘might be for a couple of games’
Ja Morant will make his return to an NBA floor tonight against the Houston Rockets according to Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins.
The 23-year-old said his status was ‘up in the air’ Tuesday, but Jenkins all but confirmed Morant would be part of the rotation.
Morant will start the game at FedEx Forum from the bench after an extended layoff.
‘Obviously we don’t have a long runway until the end of the regular season, but we want to be smart with that layoff that we’re not doing anything to jeopardize his health,’ Jenkins told reporters.
Morant suggested the possibility of playing lessened minutes given his lack of competitive practice and play in recent weeks.
Ja Morant will return to the court in his playing uniform tonight after his leave of absence
The Grizzlies Twitter account posted a photo of its star en route to the home locker room
The All-Star has not played since being suspended by the league and Grizzlies, with his last game coming on March 3 vs. Denver.
‘This was something he brought to the table as well as had been on my mind,’ Jenkins said.
‘So we collectively thought this was the best strategy, at least for the first one or two games. And then we’ll kind of reevaluate after that.’
Morant arrived at the downtown Memphis arena Wednesday night dressed in an olive tracksuit and white t-shirt.
Morant spoke publicly for the first time since concluding his eight-game league-enforced suspension Tuesday, describing his current state as an ‘ongoing process’ after 11 days of counseling in Florida during his absence.
‘Obviously, I’ve been there for two weeks, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely better. So, that’s an ongoing process for me that I’ve still been continuing since I’ve come out.’
He denied any suggestion he has difficulties handling alcohol amid NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s determination that the 23-year-old was in an ‘intoxicated state’ via the league’s statement.
‘I don’t have an alcohol problem, never had an alcohol problem,’ Morant said. ‘I went [to FL.] for counseling to learn how to manage stress, cope with stress in a positive way instead of ways I’ve tried to deal with it before that caused me to make mistakes.’
Morant, 23, found himself in trouble after flashing a gun at a night club on social media in Denver following a Grizzlies win against the Nuggets
Morant returned to FedEx Forum Monday night after his highly publicized suspension
Morant apologized once more for the incident in which he flashed a gun at a Denver strip club in the hours following a March 3 loss to the Nuggets.
‘I’m completely sorry for that,’ Morant said after practice.
‘So, you know, my job now is, like I said, to be more responsible, more smarter, and don´t cause any of that no more.’
The former No. 2 overall pick’s last game of pro basketball came against the Nuggets, March 3
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