Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley will miss an extended period with transverse fractures in the vertebrae in his lower back, the team announced.
The Grizzlies said Conley is expected to miss six weeks and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. Conley’s injury is expected to resolve itself with rest, the team said.
The Grizzlies are now missing Chandler Parsons (knee), Zach Randolph (personal leave), James Ennis (calf) and Brandan Wright (ankle).
Mike Conley is averaging a career-high 19.2 points per game this season for the Grizzlies (11-7).
Conley was off to the best start of his career fresh off signing a five-year, $153 million maximum contract, the biggest overall deal in NBA history. He is averaging a career-high 19.2 points to go with 5.7 assists per game, leading the injury-riddled Grizzlies to an 11-7 record.
Without Conley, Memphis will be forced to rely on a pair of rookie point guards. Andrew Harrison, who spent last season in the D-League, is averaging 5.9 points and 3.4 assists but is shooting only 27.1 percent from the floor. First-round pick Wade Baldwin is averaging 3.5 points and 2.3 assists, shooting only 33.3 percent from the floor, and had fallen out of the rotation.
A source said point guards Kendall Marshall, Toney Douglas and Will Bynum are expected to work out for the Grizzlies, who can apply for a hardship waiver this weekend to receive an extra roster spot.
Mario Chalmers, who ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing for the Grizzlies last season, will not be among the guards Memphis works out. Chalmers is not physically ready, according to a source.
Center Marc Gasol (18.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists per game) is the only one of Memphis’ three max players who is currently healthy. Parsons will miss at least another week due to a bone bruise in his left knee, which is not the knee that he had surgeries on in each of the two previous seasons.