Grizzlies’ Ja Morant is out for the season with a shoulder injury

The Memphis Grizzlies announced Monday night that star guard Ja Morant will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Morant’s fifth NBA season will thus consist of just nine games. He began it on a 25-game suspension handed to him by the league after he flashed a gun on a social media live stream for a second time last year.

When Morant returned, a Memphis squad shorthanded in other areas had a 6-19 record. He helped them get six wins in his nine appearances, with one game missed in that stretch, before he got hurt during a training session Saturday. While sitting out Memphis’s most recent game, a win Sunday at the Phoenix Suns, he was seen on the bench with his right arm in a sling.

The Grizzlies said the 2020 NBA rookie of the year suffered a subluxation of his right shoulder. He is set to undergo surgery and is expected to make a full recovery by next season, the team said.

In the meantime, the Grizzlies’ chances of making the playoffs may have suffered a mortal blow. At 13-23, Memphis is in 13th place in the 15-team Western Conference, 4½ games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for 10th place and a berth in the play-in tournament.

The No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft out of Murray State, Morant exploded onto the NBA scene with fearless, acrobatic drives to the rim and heady play at the point. He averaged better than 26 points in the previous two seasons while earning all-star honors.

In limited action this season, the 24-year-old averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds, with a 20.6 player efficiency rating.

In July 2022, he signed a five-year contract extension worth almost $200 million. That pact ties him to the Grizzlies through the 2027-28 season.

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