Memphis G Conley to miss Game 4 in Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Memphis point guard Mike Conley will not play Monday night in Game 4 of the Grizzlies' playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers because of a facial injury.
The team said Sunday that Conley was returning to Memphis for additional evaluation.
''He does so much for us, with the ball, with the defense, setting us up. He shoulders a huge amount of responsibility for us,'' Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. ''So everybody else has to just pick it up, keep getting better, and be a little bit more focused in every single area. Every single possession is going to matter.''
Conley left Saturday night's Game 3 in the third quarter after he appeared to be caught inadvertently by Portland guard CJ McCollum's elbow while going after the ball.
Conley fell to his hands and knees and stayed there for several moments before team trainers guided him to the locker room with a towel to his face. TV cameras caught blood spots on the towel.
The Grizzlies said he was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation, but he did not stay the night.
The Grizzlies withstood a Portland rally in the fourth quarter for a 115-109 victory to take a 3-0 series lead. Conley had 14 points before he was injured.
Conley later posted to Twitter: ''Proud of my guys for stepping up! Huge win tonight. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. I will be fine!''
Memphis center Marc Gasol said Conley was in good spirits.
''We're talking like he's going to be out for a long time. He's fine,'' Gasol said. ''Of course it's unfortunate what happened, but he will be fine. ''
Conley, in his eighth NBA season, is averaging 16 points in the series. He averaged 15.8 points and 5.4 assists in the regular season.
''We're playing without our primary playmaker, so we've got a lot of work to do,'' Joerger said. ''The series is to four, and they're a very proud organization and they've got some very good players who are very proud. Expect a dogfight tomorrow.''
The Grizzlies were already without reserve point guard Beno Udrih, who was a late scratch from Game 3 with a sprained right ankle.
Udrih, who had 20 points in the opener, hurt the ankle in the first half of Game 2, but returned in the third quarter and finished with 10 points. He warmed up Saturday night but ultimately didn't play.
Udrih said after a light practice on Sunday that he plans to play on Monday night.
''With another day of rest it's improved a lot,'' he said.
The Grizzlies turned Saturday to Nick Calathes, who is in his second season. Calathes, who also plays for the Greek national team, finished with 13 points and three assists.
''For Nick to just be ready like that is big,'' Memphis forward Zach Randolph said. ''This league is about being ready, so when your number is called you should already be ready. That's what I've been telling the young fellas.''