Zach Randolph has made one more step towards full recovery. According to The Commercial Appeal, Randolph practiced in contact drills with Grizzlies teammates for the first time since suffering a partial MCL tear two months ago. Still, Randolph isn't ready to return to the floor for the Grizzlies. Thus, the Grizzlies will be without him for this week's three-game road trip.
Randolph, who has been out since the injury suffered against the Chicago Bulls on January 1, went through practice without much of a problem. He was able to play aggressively with Marreese Speights and get in Marc Gasol's face.
Still, Randolph didn't feel confident enough to get back into game action.
"It's just the mental part of it for me," Randolph said. "You want to go out there and do what you know you can do. I just want to know that it's stable, that I'm not going to come down and tweak anything."
Randolph had progressed significantly in the last week. Last week, Randolph could run at full speed and jump normally, but was hesitant making cuts while running short-range exercises.
Lionel Hollins said that Randolph didn't appear to him to be ready to hit the floor for the Grizzlies.
"He's a ways from playing, but it was nice to see him out there and able to do some contact stuff," Hollins said.
The Grizzlies don't seem to be in a hurry to get Randolph back on the floor. They've taken their time easing him through individual exercises and now contact drills.
Randolph doesn't seem quite ready to play yet and the Grizzlies are rightfully taking care that their big-money player comes back strong and able to play at full speed with the big boys.
The Grizzlies (22-15) are fine at this point without Randolph. They've won 10 of their last 12 games and stand fifth in the Western Conference. Their three-game road trip featured only one game against a winning team.
Randolph's progress is an item to watch and Grizzlies fans should be interested to see whether he comes back for Memphis' home game on March 13 against the Los Angeles Lakers.