Grizzlies' Jenkins stands by Poole's role in Ja's knee injury


MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins isn't changing his stance on how star point guard Ja Morant sustained a bone bruise on his right knee Saturday night in the Warriors' 30-point win at Chase Center in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.

"That's just what our medical team and what Ja said," Jenkins said Wednesday night at FedExForum prior to Game 5. "That's when the injury was felt was on that play, so I'm just stating the facts of what our guys have told us in-house."

Following his team's Game 3 blowout loss, Jenkins insinuated Warriors gaurd Jordan Poole was the culprit regarding Morant's injury. 

The Grizzlies coach told reporters, "Jordan Poole actually grabbed his knee and yanked it, which triggered whatever happened. I’m actually going to be very curious to see what happens after that." 

Well, nothing happened

The NBA reviewed the play in question at the request of the Grizzlies and determined Poole’s reach for the ball with Morant being double-teamed was a "normal basketball play."

Morant is out for Game 5 and is doubtful for the rest of the playoffs. Jenkins said the Grizzlies have been told surgery is not an option, for now. 

He also was asked if Morant's bone bruise was an aggravation of a previous injury. Morant missed nine straight games towards the end of the regular season with "right knee soreness." 

"What I've been told is completely different," Jenkins said. 

Dr. Nirav Pandya, an Associate Professor of UCSF Orthopedic Surgery and Director of Sports Medicine at Benioff Children's Hospital, recently told NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann that it's "highly unlikely" Poole's hand could have caused a bone bruise to Morant's right knee. 

Here's part of his explanation: 

"Obviously, without looking at the MRI, we can't 100 percent know for sure. But given this diagnosis, it is highly unlikely that Jordan Poole's grab of Ja's knee could have caused significant damage to the bone through a direct blow. It would also take a significant amount of force for Jordan Poole to cause ligament damage to Ja's knee leading to a secondary bone bruise."

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During Warriors shootaround earlier Wednesday, acting head coach Mike Brown gave a diplomatic answer when asked of Jenkins' previous comments while also defending Poole. 

"I got a lot of respect for Taylor," Brown said. "Taylor's probably just protecting his team and doing what any coach would do for his team, for his players. I didn't look at it like that. For me, I felt bad for Ja. I felt bad for JP that his name was getting thrown into the mix like that.

"I know JP, I don't know Ja. From the outside looking in, he seems like a fantastic human being."

The Grizzlies went 20-5 without Morant in the regular season but have lost four straight with him sidelined, including the Warriors' Game 4 comeback win.

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