Rudy Gay Injury: Memphis Grizzlies' Top Scorer out vs. Lakers with Concussion

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIMarch 13, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02:  Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots against Marvin Williams #24 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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

Rudy Gay had hoped to recover from his concussion in time to play in the showdown on Tuesday between the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers. As The Commercial Appeal reported via Twitter, Gay failed concussion tests on Tuesday. That hampers the Grizzlies' chances to take the home match against the Lakers.

Gay suffered the concussion on Sunday in a win over the Denver Nuggets when Nene elbowed him in the head. According to The Commercial Appeal, the concussion was described as mild.

Under NBA policy, players must be symptom-free for 24 hours in order to return to play. Players must be able to pass a series of medical and exercise tests.

The Commercial Appeal reported that Sam Young, who had started in place of Gay after Gay went down with a season-ending shoulder injury last season, will start against the Lakers.

This is a sudden change in direction from Lionel Hollins, who had previously planned to start Quincy Pondexter in Gay's spot. Still, Pondexter, whose 15.5 minutes per game are 4.7 minutes more per game than Young, will likely split time with Young.

Young has averaged 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in 20 games this season. In his one start this season, Young scored 10 points and had four rebounds against the Boston Celtics.

Last season, Young stepped up in Gay's place, averaging 9.3 points per game after the All-Star break. Young scored in double figures 27 times last season, including 22 of his last 36 games played.

The Grizzlies will greatly miss Gay against the Lakers. Gay, who had been their best hope of countering Kobe Bryant's scoring, leads the Grizzlies with 18.8 points and 16.9 field-goal-attempts per game. Marc Gasol, the second-leading Grizzly in those categories, averages more than three points and five field-goal-attempts fewer per game than Gay.

Also, Mike Conley and Tony Allen will have to step up the defensive pressure to get things going in transition. The Grizzlies will need as many fast break points as they can get to win this one.

The Grizzlies will be hoping for a solid contribution from Young.

Moreover, the Grizzlies will need Gasol, O.J. Mayo, Conley and Marreese Speights to step up their scoring. Pondexter may be needed to score in double figures as well.

The Grizzlies might be able to take advantage of the Lakers' road woes, as the Los Angeles team is only 7-14 on the road.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have dominated their home court, winning 15 of 20 at home.

But that might not be enough for the Grizzlies. To win without their top scorer, the Grizzlies need a combination of things to happen.

Above all, they'll need to rally together as a team, as they always do when key players like Gay and Zach Randolph get injured.