OAKLAND -– Memphis guard Mike Conley is doubtful to play against Golden State in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series Sunday at Oracle Arena, according to Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Conley suffered a facial fracture near his left eye in Game 3 of the first round against Portland. He had surgery on Monday to repair the injury, which typically carries a recovery period of 4-to-6 weeks.
“It’s frustrating,” Joerger said after Saturday’s practice. “He wants to play. If he can go tomorrow, he will, but does it make sense? There’s a lot of life to live, too.”
Conley has been fitted for a mask, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he can play, said the coach.
“I think there’s a misconception that if you put a mask on, you can play,” Joerger said. “That’s far from the truth.”
Joerger joked that Conley, who was third in scoring for the Grizzlies during the regular season, is getting checked out by doctors “every couple hours,” and the coach is getting frequent updates on his point guard’s status.
“I’ll be like, ‘did you talk to him again?" Joerger said, mimicking a telephone and laughing.
Filling in for Conley, should be not be able to go, will be guards Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih. Memphis’ leading scorer during the regular season, Marc Gasol knows that it will be no easy task for that pair, facing arguably the NBA’s best backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
“We played two games without Mike. Whoever is out there is going to give it what they have,” Gasol said. “We’ve talked about it. Nick can’t try to be Mike. Nick has to be Nick, and same thing with Beno.”
“They first thing they’ve got to do is play defense on one of the best players of the league, and they’ve still got to help and do their things and run the team.”