Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins provided an update on Ja Morant’s possible return to action on Monday following the star point guard’s first practice in the wake of an eight-game suspension for a recent string of off-court issues.
Jenkins told reporters Morant, who was suspended by the NBA on March 15, continued his preparation for a return to the lineup this week, noting that the team is “hopeful” he’ll play at home against the Rockets on Wednesday. The 23-year-old two-time All-Star has not played since March 3, when he was seen on Instagram Live appearing to hold a gun at a nightclub hours after a 113–97 road loss to the Nuggets.
“He’s gonna be a part of practice tomorrow and, then, we’re hopeful for Wednesday as long as everything medically clears out,” Jenkins said ahead of Monday’s game against the Mavericks in Memphis—the first game Morant would’ve been eligible to play in after his suspension.
Morant, who reportedly spent time at a counseling center while away from the team, has received heavy criticism in the aftermath of the events in Denver and other off-the-court issues. On the same day he received the suspension, Morant issued his first public comments on the March 3 incident in an interview with ESPN’s Jalen Rose, where he took ownership for his actions yet denied owning the gun in the video.
“The gun wasn’t mine,” Morant said. “It’s not who I am. I don’t condone any type of violence. But I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a bad mistake.”
In the eight games played without Morant, the Grizzlies posted a 5–3 record and currently sit in third place in the Western Conference.