Things didn’t sound good last Monday when the Hang-Time Grizzlies announced that the results of an MRI on Rudy Gay‘s left shoulder weren’t good enough for him to return to the court. Gay has been out since injuring the shoulder on Feb. 15 (see how it happened above), the Grizzlies’ final game before the All-Star break.
Now comes a report from The Commercial Appeal that Gay will need to have surgery on that shoulder, knocking him out for the rest of the season and, presumably, the playoffs.
Gay received the news after traveling to Birmingham, Ala., to visit renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
“I’ve never really been hurt. I’ve never had anything shut me down,” Gay said. “There’s really no brace or anything I can wear to make it better. I have to have the surgery.”
(UPDATE: The story has been confirmed by the AP, although the date of Gay’s surgery has not been set.)
It’s tough news for the Grizzlies, their fans, and anyone who wanted to see what the Grizz could do at full strength. After signing a new five-year, $84 million contract, Gay was having the best season of his career.
The good news is that Gay is only 24 years old with plenty of big seasons ahead of him, and that the Grizzlies have been doing OK without him, holding strong to the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
What’s interesting is that, since the All-Star break, the Grizzlies are a different team than they were before it. Although they lost a great offensive player in Gay and added a great defensive player in Shane Battier, they’ve actually been much stronger offensively over the last four weeks.
Grizzlies efficiency, 2010-11
|Timeframe||W||L||Pct.||Pace||Rank||Off. Eff.||Rank||Def. Eff.||Rank||Diff.|
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes.
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions
The Grizzlies are basically doing everything better offensively. They’re shooting better, rebounding better and even sharing the ball more. But most important may be that they’ve cut down on turnovers.
EFG% = (FGM + (0.5*3PM))/FGA
OReb% = Off. Reb./(Off. Reb. + Opp. Def. Reb.)
TORatio = Turnovers per 100 possessions
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA
Gay had a turnover rate of 10.7 (he turned the ball over 10.7 times per 100 possessions he used). Some of his minutes have been taken by Battier, who has a turnover rate of 8.4 with Memphis. But since Gay’s injury, both Tony Allen and Sam Young have seen a lot more playing time. And Allen’s turnover rate has gone down from 13.0 before the break to just 9.4 after it. In addition, Mike Conley‘s turnover rate has gone down slightly.
As a result of the decreased turnovers and extra rebounds, the Grizzlies are getting an extra three shots per 100 possessions. Since they’re making more of those shots, they’re that much more efficient.
(Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace will appear on NBA TV’s “The Beat” at 6 p.m. ET to discuss Gay’s injury, the Grizzlies’ playoff hopes and more.)