- Publish Date
- Thursday, 26 January 2023, 11:09AM
By Christopher Reive
Steven Adams has suffered a setback during what is shaping up as a career year in the NBA, with a knee sprain set to keep him sidelined for up to five weeks.
The 29-year-old fronted for the Memphis Grizzlies in the 112-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday, but has since been diagnosed with a sprain of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his right knee and could now be out until after the NBA All-Star break, with the league’s talent showcase taking place in late February.
The Grizzlies confirmed the injury today, and said his timeline for a return was between three and five weeks.
Adams has been a revelation for the Memphis team this season. Having re-signed on a multi-year deal before the season got underway, Adams has responded on the court. His relationship with point guard Ja Morant in the pick-and-roll game has been a thing of beauty to watch, while his offensive rebounding ability continues to cause headaches for the opposition.
He is often praised for providing a positive locker room presence to a team who have taken the league by storm — with their culture playing a big part in that rise.
“It was good to get that done,” Adams told the Herald late last year of his contract extension. “I really want to be here, so it was good that all that shit got taken care of and now we can just focus on basketball. It’s just good that the team actually wants me here.”
In 42 appearances this year, Adams is averaging nine points, 11 rebounds and one blocked shot per game — all of which are improvements on his numbers from a season ago. He is currently on track to post a career-high in rebounding numbers — an area that Adams has made his calling card over the past few seasons.
After a recent loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Lakers star LeBron James praised the work Adams was doing for his team this year after Memphis were able to score 39 second-chance points — the most in an NBA game in the last 25 years — against his team.
“They have probably nine guys over 6′8, 6′9 ... you got two guys flying at him to contest on Ja Morant and then you’ve got the strong guy in the NBA in Steven Adams under there battling against guards, we’re probably going to lose that battle 100 out of 100 times,” James said.
“The last game they played against Cleveland they actually won on a second-chance point by Steven Adams. Because two guys went at Ja Morant’s layup and Steven Adams couldn’t be blocked out even by Evan Mobley who’s almost seven foot tall.”
Adams’ rise this season has gone hand in hand with the Grizzlies’ continued emergence as a true title contender. At the midway point of the season, they sit second in the Western Conference with a 31-16 record.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission
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