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Grizzlies rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. not expected to be back soon

Jaren Jackson Jr., Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff told local reporters on Wednesday he doesn’t expect rookie big man Jaren Jackson Jr. to return to the lineup anytime soon.

Jackson Jr. is dealing with a right quad injury. He last featured for the Grizzlies on Feb. 13 against the Chicago Bulls and played 15 minutes in the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge in Charlotte during All-Star weekend.

Jaren Jackson Jr. was the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft out of Michigan State University.

In 58 games this season for the Grizzlies, Jackson Jr. is averaging 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.4 blocks while shooting 50.6 percent from the floor, 35.9 percent from beyond the arc and 76.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Memphis has one of the worst records in the NBA. There is no point to rush or play Jackson Jr. the rest of this season if he’s not 100 percent. The last thing the Grizzlies want to do is make the injury worse.

All signs point toward Memphis trading point guard Mike Conley in the summer. All-Star center Marc Gasol is already gone, as he was traded to the Toronto Raptors. It’s clear the franchise wants to build around Jackson Jr., which means the Grizzlies have to find some shooters in free agency or in the 2019 NBA Draft.