The Memphis Grizzlies are a pretty banged up team right now.
Their best player, Marc Gasol is already out for the rest of the season due to a foot injury, leaving the backup center duties to Brandan Wright and newly acquired Chris Andersen. Their best on the ball defender in Tony Allen has missed some time recently too. He suffered a knee injury in the Grizzlies’ first game back from the all-star break, making the injuries just pile up in Memphis.
While the Grizzlies for sure don’t get anything special with Allen on offense, his defense speaks for himself. Kobe Bryant recently called Allen the best defender he has ever faced, and Allen is working on getting back to the court as soon as he can:
“I’m just trying to basically strengthen my knee,” Allen said, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “It was a scare to me. That’s the first time my knee buckled on that side. A lot of people thought it was my ankle but it’s the knee. It swelled up. So I’m taking my time with it. I’m not trying to rush back too early and do something to hurt it.”
Memphis currently sits at 34-24 on the season which is good for 5th place in the Western Conference while being 5.5 games ahead of the 8th seed in the conference. It seems very likely that with 24 games left for the Grizzlies this year that they’ll be in the Playoffs. Allen is hoping to return to the Grizzlies well before the playoffs, though:
“I’m not eyeing [a comeback] for the playoffs. I’m going to get my feet wet way before that,” Allen said. “But I want to come back healthy. I want my knee to feel like it felt before I twisted my leg. I want to be close to 100 percent and feel like I can get me a stop when needed.”
Allen is averaging 6.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season with a defensive rating of 98 per 100 possessions.
[twitter-follow screen_name='tony_montalto' show_count='yes']