The Grizzlies had a noticeable improvement in health during Jim Scholler’s first year as head athletic trainer, dropping their total number of games lost by 55 percent from the previous year. Unfortunately, the turnaround remained bogged down by several significant injuries, particularly lower leg surgery for Brandan Wright and Chandler Parsons’ balky knees. These two players accounted for 91 of the teams 164 total games missed. However, point guard Mike Coney returned ahead of schedule following a lower back fracture and All-Star center Marc Gasol made an impressive return from a navicular stress fracture.
Memphis made several difficult decisions in the offseason, letting franchise stalwarts Tony Allen and Zach Randolph sign elsewhere. The front office opted to fill out the roster spot with younger players, despite some carrying an elevated level of injury risk.
As a result, the work of Scholler and his team becomes that much more important as they will be tasked with keeping Tyreke Evans, Mario Chalmers, and Parsons on the court. Parsons’ knee problems have been well-documented but the once promising wing is hoping a summer spent rehabbing and reshaping his body will help restore his career.
While Parsons is expected to be ready for the regular season, newly signed swingman Ben McLemore is expected to miss the start of the season after breaking his fifth metatarsal in the offseason. The move insures the team will start the year with at least one player sidelined though Scholler and his team will look to build on last year’s improvement and help the team secure their eighth straight postseason appearance.