Mike Conley is hurting for several reasons beyond a sore left Achilles these days. The point guard is hurting for his former coach, David Fizdale, whom the Grizzlies fired last Monday. He’s hurting for his closest friend on the team, center Marc Gasol, who is struggling with being labeled a “coach killer.” Conley’s also hurting for the franchise, which was mired in a 10-game losing streak entering Saturday night’s action. In a wide-ranging interview – his first since being required to sit out and rest the Achilles beginning Nov. 14 – Conley spoke with the media about his injury and rehab, the losing streak, Fizdale’s firing and how he tried to play the mediator in Fizdale and Gasol’s strained relationship. Q: How are you feeling now with the sore Achilles? A: It’s tough. Anything that has to do with your heel takes a little bit longer to heal. So, I’m just taking it day by day. Hopefully, we’ll know something more in the next week or so. Q: How would you describe your condition when the Achilles flares up? A: It’s almost impossible to walk when it’s really flared up. It’s hard to get on your toe to jump or do anything athletic, let alone doing the basic things – walking or trying to go up steps. It’s tough. It’s not something I’m used to having to deal with in the sense I play a certain way. I play hard. I play fast. I just hate that this happens. Q: Is there a psychological component to this now – perhaps you thinking about the Achilles rupturing? A: Never is that something that’s crossed my mind. The Achilles, itself, is intact and doing great. Other than the flare ups, the Achilles is good. Q: Are the occasional flare-ups something you have to accept going forward? A: After this last incident, they (the doctors) told me the Achilles can heal fully. I just have to give it time to heal. As we know, I rush things a lot and when I come back I won’t say anything about it but I might be feeling it. I might withhold that from the trainers to try and get on the court. I’ve done that over the years. Right now, I’m trying to do the smart thing, which is frustrating. But I knew I wasn’t helping the team with the way I was playing. Q: It’s been a tumultuous last few days. What’s your reaction to coach David Fizdale getting fired? A: Man, it’s hard. It’s tough to lose a coach for any reason. Fiz did a lot for me, our team and the city. You just hate to see a guy like that get fired. But, at the same time, we have to move forward somehow. We have to be able to take what we have now, buy into what we have and into (interim) coach J.B. (Bickerstaff) and trust we’re headed in the right direction.
Conley: Fizdale, Gasol 'had their differences'; mediating is my 2nd job
Memphis Commercial Appeal | Dec 3