Grizzlies' Jenkins 'hopeful' Morant will return Wednesday vs. Rockets
Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant rejoined the team Monday after serving an eight-game suspension and is on course to return Wednesday against the Houston Rockets, head coach Taylor Jenkins said.
"The reception was great," Jenkins told reporters Monday, according to The Athletic's Joe Vardon. "Everyone welcomed him with open arms, excited to have him back.
"We're hopeful for Wednesday."
Jenkins added that Morant addressed the team in person for the first time since his NBA-issued discipline for brandishing a gun at a Colorado nightclub on March 4. The Grizzlies head coach didn't divulge what the 23-year-old told his teammates.
"I think it's gonna be a seamless reintegration," Jenkins said about Morant returning to the squad, which has gone 5-3 in his absence. "We know how important he is to us. We know how important he is, he knows how important his teammates are to him."
Though inactive for Monday's contest against the Dallas Mavericks, Morant joined the team behind the bench for the first time in over two weeks, drawing an ovation from the crowd in Memphis. The two-time All-Star was eligible to play Monday, but the Grizzlies wanted to give him a brief ramp-up period before he took the court again.
Entering Monday, Memphis sat four games back of the top-seeded Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference while tied with the Sacramento Kings for second at 43-27.