Grizzlies’ Danny Green plans to return from knee injury Feb. 1

Eight months after a serious left knee injury, Memphis Grizzlies guard Danny Green plans to make his season debut Feb. 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers, Green said on his Inside The Green Room podcast Wednesday morning.

Green, 35, comes to the Grizzlies with the pedigree of three NBA championships and a belief that he can play a significant role in the franchise’s own title aspirations. Memphis’ management, including general manager Zach Kleiman and coach Taylor Jenkins, have raved about Green’s organizational impact before he’s even played a game.

“What I bring is definitely needed here: perimeter shooting and perimeter defense,” Green told ESPN late Tuesday night. “I think I can bring maturity and help a young team understand what it takes to win. This has been an A-1 organization from top to bottom in handling this entire rehab with me.”

Green tore the anterior and lateral cruciate ligaments in his left knee against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals in May. He arrived in a draft night trade in June and has spent several months rehabbing the knee to join the Grizzlies, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

“It’s not realistic (to come back from this injury so quickly),” Green said on his podcast. “Everybody’s body is very different, but I’ve been lucky … to have a pretty good surgeon, a pretty good body that healed really well and quickly and the right people around me to help me get there. A lot of things had to fall into place for this to happen in this way.”

Entering his 14th NBA season, Green brings championship history with the Spurs (2014), Raptors (2019) and Lakers (2020), but more importantly an ability to still play a bench role with his shooting, defense and leadership to back it up for All-Star Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. Green has two and a half months to elevate his game ahead of the postseason and build chemistry with the Grizzlies’ star-studded young core.

“They’ve made it easy for me here,” Green told ESPN. “They’ve respected me and respected that I have a resume, a point of view and a perspective based on what I’ve experienced. It’s still difficult when you’re not battle-tested with a group, but we’ll try to get there as soon as possible possible.”

Green is on a $10 million expiring contract. He told ESPN that “This is a place I hope I can call home for the next few years. I’m fortunate to be in a great situation with a winning team.”

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