MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Conley should be resting right now, letting his sprained right foot heal.
But he won’t, no time. It’s the playoffs.
So the Grizzlies guard is playing even though sharp pain shoots through his foot when he runs or jumps — just not enough to keep him on the bench.
“It’s going to flare up no matter what I do,” Conley said Tuesday of the injury that kept him out the last four games of the regular season. “I just go out there and play as if I’m not injured and see how much I can do and what I can do to help the team and the following day is just rehab and recover.”
The eight-year veteran not only started Sunday’s opening win, Conley scored 16 points. But he took advantage of a big Grizzlies’ lead to rest during the fourth quarter.
None of his teammates were surprised that Conley was not only available for Sunday night’s 100-86 win, but played well.
“I expect a lot out of him to be honest with you,” Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said of Conley. “He’s my little man. He’s a great player, great guy. I knew he wasn’t going to miss a playoff game. I can only ask him to give me whatever he has, and he’s done it. And I’m going to ask the same next game.”
The Grizzlies have seen Conley play through pain before.
He leads Memphis in total minutes has played all 82 games only once back in 2008-09 and topped 80 or more games only three other seasons. Injuries limited Conley to 70 games this season, but Conley now has started all 43 playoff games possible with Memphis.
It’s an injury that can take up to six weeks to fully heal, yet Conley played just 11 days after hurting his foot against New Orleans. His only nod to the injury has been wearing a bigger shoe, going to size 12s because of extra padding — a half size larger than he’d normally wear in his new playoff shoes. That’s a change from Game 1, when he wore a 12 on his sore foot and a 11
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