It’s a safe bet to say that the Memphis Grizzlies were the Cinderella story of the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
The Grizzlies started a team made up of mostly second and third tier players and arguably their best player, forward Rudy Gay, would be watching from the bench in street clothes.
As the eighth seed matched up against the number one San Antonio Spurs, who’d just finished up one of their best regular seasons in franchise history, they were doomed just as many other eighth seeds have been before.
Now, five months later, the same person who had to watch from the sideline in a three-piece, told Grantland‘s Jonathan Abrams he’d like to think the Grizzlies could’ve won the championship if he had not been sidelined with a season-ending shoulder injury.
How far could Memphis have gone in the playoffs if you were healthy?
I’d like to say we’d win the whole thing. But I’m not sure. We were definitely on a stride.
Gay, who is currently rehabbing the shoulder injury, says he is at 90 percent and was cleared to play several weeks ago. He participated in a few games of the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series and scored 38 points in a charity pickup game hosted by Chris Paul.
Gay’s absence from basketball due to his February injury, has been his longest, but the injury seems to have given him a new perspective on his career.
It was tough. But I think I needed it for my career. I’ve never been injured, never been anything. Now I take care of my body better. I’m planning to play every game like my last, because I know what it’s like to get it taken away from you.
While the NBA lockout is pretty much a lose-lose for all parties involved, there is one bit of a silver lining for the 6-8 forward. The loss of games should give him a bit more time to finish rehabbing and get into game shape by the time the season does start.
Then he can go after what could’ve been.