Grizzlies' Marcus Smart (finger) is out for at least the next 6 weeks

Marcus Smart is averaging a career-best 14.5 ppg this season for Memphis.

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Memphis Grizzlies declared On Thursday, guard Marcus Smart will be out for the next six weeks with a right ring finger injury. According to the team, Smarts' injury is a rupture of the medial sheath of the proximal interphalangeal joint and he will be re-evaluated in six weeks.

Jan. 9, Smart suffered the injury during a 120-109 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

What happened: Smart left the game with 7:38 left in the third quarter. After making a 3-pointer, Smart noticed his finger was in a terrible spot as he reached out to celebrate.

The game was Memphis' first since learning it would be without leading scorer and All-Star Za Morant for the rest of the season (shoulder surgery).

Influence of genius: Before his injury, Smart had 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting as the Grizzlies defeated the Mavs, who had won three and four of their last five.

The Grizzlies traded for Smart in the offseason, hoping that he and Morant could combine to provide Memphis' backcourt with both a top-flight scorer (Morant) and an elite defender (Smart). However, Morant missed the first 25 games of the season due to a league-mandated suspension, and he and Smart played just six games together before Morant was suspended for the season.

Stats-wise, Smart is averaging 14.5 points per game, along with 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a career-best 2.1 steals. His absence thins a Memphis backfield that was already smarting from Morant's departure and without Derrick Rose (hamstring) for the past three games.

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The Grizzlies (14-23) have the third-worst record in the Western Conference and are eight games behind the Houston Rockets for the No. 10 seed in the West. Given a six-week window, Smart's potential return would coincide with the Grizzlies' return from the NBA All-Star break in late February.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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