Storyline: Mike Conley Injury

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How do you balance ‘I need to be out there’ with ‘I need to be healthy’? Mike Conley: It’s the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my career. It’s something I’ve been battling since day one of this season, trying to figure out the balance of push through this wall or just wait behind it, let everything just come together and let things settle down. But in the process of letting things play out, we didn’t do well as a team. For me personally, I might have been healing a little bit better, but I’m looking out there and I’m feeling, I need to be out there to help this team play and move forward.

Q: Are the occasional flare-ups something you have to accept going forward? Mike Conley: After this last incident, they (the doctors) told me the Achilles can heal fully. I just have to give it time to heal. As we know, I rush things a lot and when I come back I won’t say anything about it but I might be feeling it. I might withhold that from the trainers to try and get on the court. I’ve done that over the years. Right now, I’m trying to do the smart thing, which is frustrating. But I knew I wasn’t helping the team with the way I was playing.

How are you feeling now with the sore Achilles? Mike Conley: It’s tough. Anything that has to do with your heel takes a little bit longer to heal. So, I’m just taking it day by day. Hopefully, we’ll know something more in the next week or so. Q: How would you describe your condition when the Achilles flares up? Mike Conley: It’s almost impossible to walk when it’s really flared up. It’s hard to get on your toe to jump or do anything athletic, let alone doing the basic things – walking or trying to go up steps. It’s tough. It’s not something I’m used to having to deal with in the sense I play a certain way. I play hard. I play fast. I just hate that this happens.

Before he gingerly walked out of the locker room after the Grizzlies’ first home loss of the season, Conley slowly gathered his thoughts and his belongings. He then tried to think back to a time when his normally deft shooting touch has disowned him quite like this. “If I had been in one, I don’t recall it,” the Grizzlies’ catalyst said of his current slump on offense. “I don’t even think about it. I always just move on to the next game. You know, it’s tough. But tough times don’t last. I’ll get through it. I know my teammates will help me through it and it will turn around.”

Conley is listed as questionable with Achilles soreness entering Wednesday’s game, but was on the court with teammates at the end of the morning shootaround. “Once Mike is feeling better, we’re going to see a lot better basketball out of him,” Fizdale said. “Right now, he’s just fighting through nagging pain and stuff you can’t control. It’s always going to be his Achilles. It’s going to be sore. Sometimes it feels better than other times. It’s just getting back into the competition, doing it every day again and getting through that threshold of pain. Once he gets to a certain number of games, he gets his legs under him and feels better.”

Conley has completely recovered from a sore Achilles that kept him from playing since March, an MRI confirmed roughly two weeks ago. He remains one of the finalists to play for Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski on a 12-man roster that is expected to be revealed later this month. Team USA will convene in Las Vegas on July 17 to begin a training camp that spans nearly a week and culminates with a July 22 exhibition game against 2004 Olympic champion Argentina.
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February 20, 2018 | 7:40 pm EST Update
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Davis said he has been mirroring Russell Westbrook’s approach to keep the Pelicans in the playoff picture. They are 4-5 since Cousins’ injury, compared to 27-21 before that. “You kind of have that Russell Westbrook mentality when [Kevin Durant] went out,” Davis said. “Russ just went out there and played, and he shot 40 shots sometimes, you know, whatever it takes to help your team win, and I’m kind of taking that approach.”
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February 20, 2018 | 5:53 pm EST Update