The short-handed Phoenix Suns will face a formidable challenge when they wrap up a four-game trip against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
Updates Injury Status Ja Morant and Cameron Johnson for Monday’s game
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For comparison, Phoenix has dropped 11 of their last 13 games while Memphis is on a nine-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the NBA.
On this winning streak for the Grizzlies, Ja Morant has played in seven games, averaging 28.9 points per game. The star point guard led his team to a 130-112 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday with 23 points, 10 assists, and arguably the dunk of the year.
After missing the previous six games with left hip soreness, Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke returned on Saturday and scored 11 points in the team’s win over Indiana.
Ziaire Williams started for the first time this year and led all scorers with 13 points. Williams replaced Dillon Brooks in the starting lineup before Brooks’ right ankle injury rendered him day-to-day.
Grizzlies’ forward John Konchar, who was sick with something other than the common cold but missed Saturday’s game, is also being monitored.
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The Suns have struggled without injured players like Devin Booker (groin), Cameron Payne (foot), Chris Paul (hip), Landry Shamet (hip), and Cam Johnson (knee).
Cameron Johnson (knee) took part in practice on Sunday. He won’t be able to play against the Grizzlies on Monday, but he seems close to coming back.
Chris Haynes of BleacherReport.com said on Friday that Johnson should be back soon after the Suns’ game in Memphis on Monday, which is the last game of their road trip. The 26-year-old hasn’t been able to play since Nov. 4, when he had surgery to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee. He just started full practices again, and the Suns may only need a few more before they feel comfortable with his conditioning.
Shamet, who has missed the last three games due to a sore right hip, is expected to return on Monday. This week, Johnson may come and hang out with him.
To keep up with Memphis, which is averaging 124 points during its current winning streak, the Suns will need to put forth a total team effort.