It’s been clear for a while that the Golden State Warriors Western Conference Semifinals series with the Memphis Grizzlies had gotten ugly. Draymond Green got a Flagrant 2 ejection in Game 1. Dillon Brooks got a Flagrant 2 ejection and a suspension in Game 2. Kyle Anderson was ejected in Game 3. Gary Payton II got injured. Ja Morant got injured. Players and coaches alike lobbed accusations at the other team. Steve Kerr caught COVID.
A once promising series now looks like one we all can’t wait to see end. And it probably will soon, because of a serious bummer of a news bomb: Morant is out for the rest of the postseason.
Ja Morant has been diagnosed with a bone bruise, the Grizzlies announced. He’s expected to miss the rest of the playoffs.
— Kendra Andrews (@kendra__andrews) May 10, 2022
While the main takeaway from this injury update is that Morant, a first-time All-Star and winner of this year’s Most Improved Player award, is tragically out for the playoffs, it’s hard to ignore the reason he’s being sidelined: a bone bruise.
There are many ways to bruise your bone, but having someone lightly grab your leg is not one of them. In other words, Jordan Poole is innocent. He had nothing to do with Morant’s injury.
You already knew this, of course. The accusations from Memphis’ side — Morant tweeted (then deleted) a sarcastic remark about breaking the code, while coach Taylor Jenkins stated that Poole “triggered” the injury — always seemed more a response to the Warriors public anger at Brooks than an actual belief that Poole had injured their superstar point guard.
But they were weird accusations to hear nonetheless. Nothing about Poole’s movement seemed abnormal or dangerous, which the NBA agreed with when they didn’t retroactively give him any punishment.
And now Poole is (hopefully) absolved of any blame, which was never served in the first place. And the Grizzlies will likely be left with some awkward questions to answer.
The story here is emphatically Morant, not Poole. The notable element is that one of the game’s brightest stars is out for the remainder of the playoffs, effectively putting a cap on what once looked like an all-time great series.
But a little resolution for a controversy that should never have started is nice, too.