Zach Randolph Injury: Grizzlies Star Will Miss 8 Weeks with Torn Knee Ligament

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 13:  Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 13, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Despite thoughts that Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph was initially thought to have merely sprained his MCL, he is now reportedly expected to miss up to eight weeks with a slight tear of the ligament in his right knee.

According to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the injury will not require surgery and Randolph will be re-evaluated in two weeks to check on the healing process. The injury occurred in a freak incident against the Chicago Bulls as Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo fell into Randolph's legs.

The injury certainly won't help a Memphis team that has stumbled out of the gates with a record of 2-3. The Grizzlies were the talk of the league last season as they knocked off the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs from the eighth seed.

Randolph was a huge reason for the upset as he went off in the playoffs to the tune of over 22 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game. With the return of swingman Rudy Gay from an injury of his own, the Grizzlies were expected to be players in the Western Conference this season.

Randolph didn't exactly begin this year in grand fashion as he was only averaging 15 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, a far cry from his usual 20 and 12 averages as a member of the Grizzlies. Even so, Z-Bo is a major contributor as few players in the league can produce as well offensively on the low block as he can.

ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the Grizzlies are closing in on a deal for Philadelphia 76ers big man Marreese Speights. While Speights is a far cry from Randolph on the offensive end, he could provide a good defensive presence and a warm body while Randolph is out.

If Memphis is unable to keep its head above water during Randolph's injury, then this could already be the deathblow to the Grizzlies' season. Provided they can hover around .500, however, the return of Randolph in a couple months will be a major boost.