Grizzlies coach calls out Jordan Poole for Ja Morant’s knee injury

SAN FRANCISCO — In the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ blowout Game 3 win over Memphis on Saturday night, Ja Morant was limping back to the visiting locker room.

Turns out, the star guard had injured his knee on a play at half-court in the fourth quarter where the Warriors double-teamed Morant and Jordan Poole, appearing to go for the ball, grabbed Morant’s knee. Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins seemed to insinuate that the “yank” was intentional and added that Morant was being evaluated.

“He was going after a dribble and Jordan Poole grabbed his knee and yanked it,” Jenkins said. “I’m going to be very curious to see what happens after that.”

Pressed if Jenkins wanted to say on the record that he thought Poole did it intentionally, Jenkins said he would “talk to Zach (Memphis GM Zachary Kleiman) and take it from there.”

As Morant departed for the team busses, he fired off a now-deleted tweet with a video of the play with the caption “broke the code,” referencing Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s response to Dillon Brooks’ flagrant two foul in Game 2 that caused Gary Payton II to fall hard and break his left elbow.

Shown the video on a reporter’s phone after the game, Poole said his move “was a basketball play.”

“We doubled him, I hit the ball and I was going for the ball and obviously you don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Poole said. “I’m not even that type of player. I respect everybody. So obviously, hopefully, he gets better. … I don’t even play like that, that’s not my type of game.”

Asked about the play, Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. — a high school teammate of Poole — said the play was “unfortunate.”

“You never want to see that type of stuff…But no one’s out here dirty. No one’s out here like that. It’s just unfortunate,” he said. “You know the code. We’ve been talking about the code all series.”

Grizzlies’ De’Anthony Melton said he didn’t see the play.

“I didn’t notice it until he started limping,” he said. “But if that’s how he feels, he understand the game and and what needs to happen out there. I’m rolling with what he’s doing.”

Added Desmond Bane:

“Jordan Poole reached out and grabbed his knee and it put him in an awkward position. It’s unfortunate.”

Staff writer Madeline Kenney contributed to this report. This story will be updated.

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Author: Shayna Rubin