Eight months after a severe 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’ leadership, including general manager Zach Kleiman and coach Taylor Jenkins, has raved about Green’s organizational impact before he has 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 while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals in May. He arrived in a draft night trade in June and has spent several months rehabilitating the knee to join the Grizzlies, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
“It’s not realistic [to come back from this injury this 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 in place for this to happen this way.”
As he begins his 14th NBA season, Green brings a championship history with the Spurs (2014), Raptors (2019) and Lakers (2020). More importantly, he has the ability to still play a bench role with his shooting, defense and leadership in support of All-Star Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. Green has 2½ months to elevate his play ahead of the postseason and build chemistry with the Grizzlies’ starry young core.
“They’ve made it easier for me here,” Green told ESPN. “They’ve respected me and respected that I have a résumé, a viewpoint and perspective based on what I’ve experienced. It’s still hard when you’re not battle-tested with a group, but we’ll try to get there as soon as possible.”
Green is on a $10 million expiring contract. He told ESPN that “This is a place I hope that I can call home for the next couple years. I’m lucky to be in a great situation with a winning team.”