“In Monday’s game against the [New Orleans] Pelicans, Jaren Jackson Jr. experienced an unstable landing after making contact with an opposing player while contesting a shot,” read the Grizzlies’ official statement, as quoted by CBS Sports. “Subsequent medical evaluation revealed a meniscus tear in his left knee, which will cause him to miss the remainder of the season. He is expected to make a full recovery.”
As further noted, Jackson’s injury came five months after he sprained the same knee and had to miss nine games shortly before the NBA suspended the 2019-20 campaign in mid-March because of the escalating coronavirus pandemic. He was, however, averaging over 25 points in the three contests Memphis played after the NBA officially returned to action on July 30.
Overall, Jackson finished with averages of 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1.4 assists in his prematurely concluded sophomore pro campaign. Per Sports Illustrated, the 20-year-old also excelled as an outside shooter as he led his team in three-point shots made and attempted and three-point percentage.
Given the fact that the Grizzlies have yet to win a game in the ongoing seeding phase, Jackson’s latest health issues came at a particularly “tough” time for the organization, according to the CBS report. Despite their losing streak, the team remains at 8th place in the Western Conference, but is barely ahead of the 9th-ranked Portland Trail Blazers and 10th-seeded San Antonio Spurs as of this writing. Per the rules of the season restart, a play-in series will be required if the 9th-placer is within four games of the 8th seed at the conclusion of the seeding period.
Aside from the Blazers and Spurs, the New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns are also less than four games behind Memphis. The team that ultimately secures the 8th seed will get to face the top-ranked Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of this year’s Western Conference playoffs.
Jackson isn’t the only young big man who will be missing significant time due to an injury suffered during the restart. On Sunday, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac went down during a game against the Kings and had to be helped off the court in a wheelchair, as reported by NBC Sports. Much like Jackson, Isaac re-injured his left knee just months after he was sidelined for 10 weeks ahead of the league’s March hiatus.