Grizzlies star Ja Morant leaves games with sprained left knee, status uncertain

Evan Barnes
Memphis Commercial Appeal

Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant left Friday's game against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter with a left knee injury and did not return.

Morant's right knee came in contact with Hawks forward John Collins, but then Morant was not able to put pressure on his left leg. After checking out with 3:12 left in the period, Morant sat on the floor at the Grizzlies bench and was helped to the locker room at FedExForum.

The team announced later Friday that Morant suffered a sprained left knee after preliminary imaging. Further updates will be provided as more testing is completed.

It was an early sigh of relief after Morant played just nine minutes and had two points in the Grizzlies' 132-100 loss. He returned to the bench in the third quarter in street clothes and with a clear limp, but was able to walk on his own without crutches.

In his third season, Morant is eighth in the NBA in scoring (25.3 points) and on pace for potentially his first All-Star selection. He also had his first Nike commercial premiere this week.

Morant missed eight games last season with a sprained left ankle. The Grade 2 sprain was expected to keep him out 3-5 weeks, but he returned just ahead of that timeline.

The Grizzlies (9-10) looked deflated following Morant's absence, and in the third quarter, they were outscored 43-18 by the Hawks. For the sixth time this season, they lost by more than 20 points.

Ja Morant will undergo further tests on his injured left knee Saturday.

"Any time you see that, obviously it takes the wind out of your sails. You try to rally together, but everyone knows how big that situation was," reserve guard Tyus Jones said.

After the game, Morant shared an image on Twitter that said, "It's in God's hands. All we can do is pray." Nearly 90 mins, he thanked fans for their prayers as this latest injury might not be as severe as feared.

"God da greatest," he tweeted.

Follow Evan Barnes on Twitter @evan_b.