Memphis point guard Ja Morant’s eight-game suspension is over, but his return to the lineup is still unknown. He will not play Monday, but could be on the bench. David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Ja Morant’s eight-game NBA suspension is over, and the two-time All-Star guard may rejoin the Memphis Grizzlies.

He was on the bench Monday night when Memphis hosts Dallas, though it’s unclear exactly when he’ll play, with the earliest being Wednesday. The Grizzlies announced Sunday that Morant would not play against the Mavericks because of a “Return to Competition Reconditioning.”

He arrived courtside just before tip-off and received a hearty ovation from the Memphis crowd. He then slapped hands with some of his teammates and was part of the line greeting starters as they prepared to begin the game.

“He is going to be part of practice (Tuesday), and obviously we’re hopeful for Wednesday so long as everything medically clears out,” Memphis Coach Taylor Jenkins said, adding the delay is part of the “ramp-up process.”

The Grizzlies host Houston on Wednesday in the first of two consecutive games against the Rockets in Memphis.

The Grizzlies know Morant has been working out, trying to be ready for this moment. Memphis was off Sunday after back-to-back wins, and Coach Taylor Jenkins said he would like Morant to practice or at least participate in a shootaround before seeing game action.


Memphis went 5-3 without Morant, who first stepped away from the team March 4, hours after he livestreamed himself on Instagram displaying a gun at strip club in Colorado following a game against the Denver Nuggets. The Grizzlies said on March 8 that Morant would be sidelined for four more games.

Morant met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in New York before the NBA announced his suspension on March 15, including six games he already had missed.

The league investigation found that Morant was “holding a firearm in an intoxicated state” – but did not prove the gun was owned by Morant “or was displayed by him beyond a brief period.” The NBA also did not find that Morant had the gun with him on Memphis’ flight to Denver, or that he possessed the gun in any NBA facility.

Police in Colorado conducted their own investigation and concluded there was no reason to charge Morant with a crime after looking into the circumstances surrounding the video.

Morant said in an ESPN interview on March 15 that the gun was not his and that he takes full responsibility for his actions.

But the strip club incident wasn’t Morant’s first eyebrow-raising move. The Grizzlies had been talking with Morant about his off-court conduct even before the March 4 incident.


“I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes,” Morant told ESPN. “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.”

Morant, whose suspension cost him $669,000 in salary and possibly a chance to max out the five-year contract he signed last July by making the All-NBA team, also has to keep working on himself away from basketball.

Morant said he underwent counseling during his suspension.

HORNETS: Point guard LaMelo Ball said he anticipates being ready for training camp in September after suffering through an injury-plagued 2022-23 season in which he sprained his left ankle three times and fractured his right ankle, all of which limited him to 36 games.

Whether he’ll consider wearing ankle braces moving forward remains to be seen.

“It’s tough,” Ball said. “I mean probably annoying just going through it, but I’m still alive and stuff like that, so you can’t really be too mad. Just go through the rehab, do that whole process and try to come out on top.”


Ball, wearing a walking boot on his right foot and leaning on crutches, spoke to reporters for the first time since undergoing season-ending surgery on his broken right ankle on March 1.

The Hornets had playoff expectations this season, but Miles Bridges’ legal troubles over the summer and a series of injuries to key players like Ball, Gordon Hayward, Cody Martin and Kelly Oubre Jr. wrecked the team’s season.

When on the court, Ball showed he was ready to take the next step in his progression after reaching the All-Star game last season.

He averaged career highs in points (23.3) and assists (8.3) per game while shooting 37.6% from 3-point range, becoming the second-youngest player to record 1,000 points, assists and rebounds in NBA history behind only LeBron James.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.