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Nets will avoid facing Grizzlies’ star backcourt

Injuries are turning a difficult portion of the Nets’ schedule into a much more manageable few games.

On Sunday, when the Nets are expected to welcome back Kyrie Irving from his suspension, the opposing star point guard will be watching from the bench at Barclays Center.

Ja Morant suffered a Grade 1 sprain of his left ankle during a win over the Thunder on Friday, the Grizzlies announced Saturday. Memphis said its best player, who is averaging 28.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game, is “week to week.”

Morant and his backcourt mate, Desmond Bane, each scored 38 points in an Oct. 24 win over the Nets. Both will miss the rematch. Bane has a sprained right big toe that will sideline him for a few weeks.

Jaren Jackson Jr., a starting big man who has played two games for Memphis since returning from foot surgery, also will sit because of injury management.

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant
Desmond Bane and Ja Morant
NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets’ injury breaks will continue on the road. After the Grizzlies, the Nets will play Tuesday in Philadelphia against a 76ers team that will not have star guards James Harden (foot tendon strain) or Tyrese Maxey (fracture in his left foot).

The Nets will then go to Toronto to face the Raptors, who likely will be missing Pascal Siakam, who was averaging 24.8 points per game before straining his right adductor.

T.J. Warren will miss his 17th game of the season. The forward has not played in an NBA game since Dec. 29, 2020, after which he needed two surgeries to repair stress fractures in his left foot.

The Nets said last week the 29-year-old had started contact work with coaches, but he had not begun five-on-five play yet.

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