Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant could return from an NBA-sanctioned eight-game suspension as soon as Wednesday, coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters.
“We’re hopeful for Wednesday, so long as everything medically clears out,” Jenkins said before Monday’s game against the Mavericks, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
Morant has been out of action since live-streaming himself with a gun in a Colorado nightclub back on March 4. Police investigated but did not charge Morant with a crime.
He has since apologized publicly in an interview with ESPN’s Jalen Rose, and spoke addressed his teammates and coaches on Monday.
“The reception was great,” Jenkins said, via MacMahon. “Everyone welcomed him with open arms. Excited to have him back.”
Morant, who is set to return to practice Tuesday, suggested he learned from his mistake.
“It’s not who I am,” Morant told Rose, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I don’t condone it or any type of violence, but I take full responsibility from my actions. I made a bad mistake. I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes. But in the future, I’m going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about and change this narrative that everybody got.”
He briefly entered a counseling program in Florida while away from the Grizzlies.
“Honestly, I feel like we put ourselves in that situation with our past mistakes, and now it’s only right that we focus in and lock in on being smarter and more responsible, holding each other accountable for everything,” Morant said. “I feel like in the past we didn’t know what was at stake. And now finally me having that time to realize everything, have that time alone, I realize that now.
“I realize what I have to lose, and for us as a group, what we have to lose. It’s pretty much just that being more responsible, more smarter and staying away from all the bad decisions.”
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