Nearing a Return?

The Curious Case of Jaren Jackson Jr.

The Memphis Grizzlies currently sit at 26–24 good for the eight spot in the Western Conference. This can be attributed to the play of Ja Morant, Kyle Anderson, and De’Anthony Melton. While the Grizzlies have outperformed their expectations for this season, they are still missing a key piece to their roster.

Jaren Jackson Jr. tore the meniscus in his right knee during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA Bubble in Orlando on August 3rd. The Grizzlies say that they expect to have Jaren Jackson back in the lineup at the end of April. If Jaren Jackson Jr. does in fact return to the lineup at the end of April, he will be going on a full 9 months of recovery.

A typical meniscus tear that requires surgery as Jaron Jackon’s did comes with an expected recovery timeline anywhere between 3 weeks and 6 months. Again, Jaren Jackson will have been out nearly 9 full months when he returns to the court for Memphis.

This is such a curious case for Jaren and the Grizzlies for multiple reasons. The first being the extended recovery time. 9 months is typically a recovery time consistent with a complete ACL or MCL tear… A meniscus should not typically take this long to recover from. This begs multiple questions… ‘Did Jaren Jackson take his recovery seriously?’ ‘Was Jaren Jackson’s diagnosis accurate?’

Maybe Jaren Jackson didn’t attack his rehab like other players who suffer similar injuries do. Kristaps Porzingis tore his meniscus a full two weeks after Jaren Jackson and was coming off an ACL injury in which he had just returned from. While Jaren Jackson tore his meniscus two weeks prior to Porzingis, Porzingis has been back on the floor playing well for the Mavericks for the majority of the 2021–22 NBA season. While Jackson has been on the Grizzlies bench recovering. What makes this even more curious is that Jaren Jackson had surgery to repair his meniscus tear on August 19th of 2020 a good 15 days after his meniscus diagnosis was released. Porzingis tore his meniscus on August 17th of 2020 and did not have surgery until October 4th… Why is Porzingis fully healthy and back on the court when he tore his meniscus and had reparative surgery after Jaren Jackson?

Maybe the doctor got it wrong. Perhaps Jaren Jackson actually tore a more significant ligament in his knee like the ACL or MCL. Very unlikely, but definitely possible.

Another reason why this injury and recovery process is curious is because nobody really knows when Jaren Jackson suffered this injury. He played the entire game in what seemed to be a normal capacity against the Pelicans back in August. There is some speculation that Jackson suffered the injury while contesting a shot at the rim late in the game, but there is no definitive point in which Jackson suffered his torn meniscus.

No matter the case, I really do hope Jaren Jackson returns to his normal self at the end of the month as expected. He was a huge piece to what the Grizzlies were doing last season and should be the right-hand-man to Ja Morant for many years to come. I look forward to his return as many should. Unless you follow the NBA and/or the Grizzlies closely, Jaren Jackson is sort of a forgotten player. I hope he can return to form if and when he does eventually return to the court.