Ja Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies' electrifying star, has been eagerly awaiting his return to full health following a challenging period marred by injuries and suspensions. As he continues to rehab from a shoulder injury, Morant provided a candid update on his health status and reflected on his role within the Grizzlies and his connection with the community.

Morant’s shoulder injury has been a significant hurdle. He suffered a labral tear in his right shoulder after playing just nine games this season, which led to surgery in January. His rehabilitation process has been meticulous, and he is now awaiting full clearance, per Commercial Appeal's Damichael Cole.

“I hate being around basketball and not being able to play,” Morant admitted. “I don't got too much longer. I can wait to make sure I'm able to play and be cleared when the season comes.” He is expected to be fully cleared within the next two weeks, a milestone that both he and the Grizzlies are eagerly anticipating.

At his annual youth basketball camp, held at the Memphis Sports & Events Center, Morant was surprised by the turnout of approximately 650 kids.

“I plead the fifth on that one,” Morant quipped when asked about his surprise, indicating a mix of humility and gratitude for the overwhelming support he received.

This year’s camp was particularly significant for Morant, who had missed a substantial amount of game time over the past 15 months due to injuries and suspensions. Despite this absence, his status as a Grizzlies star and one of the NBA’s emerging faces remained evident.

The high interest in his jerseys and sneakers, particularly the Ja 1 shoes, underscored his continued popularity.

“A camp like this, the turnout made it better to show how much support I still have and people are still fans of me,” Morant said. “It's just one of those moments where you kind of look at yourself and be proud.”

The camp also highlighted Morant’s growing influence and mentorship within the basketball community. His involvement in building his own AAU program has given him a unique perspective on mentoring young athletes.

“I've signed autographs and took pictures before, but it's nothing like what my AAU team experience has brought to my life,” Morant reflected. Through his AAU program, he not only imparts basketball skills but also life lessons, like imposing curfews and providing guidance that he wished he had during his own youth basketball journey.

Ja Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the NBA Draft

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

As the Grizzlies prepare for the NBA Draft, Morant’s role within the team remains crucial. Despite his physical absence on the court, his basketball IQ and leadership are invaluable. Grizzlies coaches and teammates often praise Morant for his understanding of the game and his ability to act as a coach on the floor.

However, when it comes to playing the role of a general manager, Morant takes a step back.

“I'm excited to see what happens,” Morant said about the upcoming draft. “I know the internet is probably going to be going crazy, so I'm probably about to turn mine off.” His focus remains on supporting his team and welcoming new talent rather than getting involved in scouting or draft decisions.

The Grizzlies hold the ninth pick in the NBA Draft, and while Morant will be in New York at the time, he won’t be in the green room. His excitement is palpable, but he prefers to let the team’s management handle the draft intricacies.

“Outside of the college basketball players that I have a previous existing relationship with, I'm not scouting guys until after they’re on the roster,” he said.

Morant’s journey over the past year has been a testament to his resilience and commitment to the sport, and his maturing following the wild controversies he was a part of during the 2022-23 season. His ability to maintain a positive outlook and continue engaging with fans, despite his setbacks, speaks volumes about his character.

The camp’s success, coupled with his impending return to full health, has reignited hope and excitement among Grizzlies fans and the broader basketball community.

As he inches closer to a full recovery, Morant’s presence will undoubtedly bolster the Grizzlies' ambitions for the upcoming season. His journey serves as an inspiration, not only to the young athletes he mentors but also to fans who eagerly await his return to the court.