MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur, who has not played this season while recovering from surgery in October, plans to make his debut Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks.
The 6-foot-9 Arthur, in his second season out of Kansas, was cleared to play and began full-contact practice on Thursday. He participated in Friday's warmups before the Grizzlies' game against the Houston Rockets.
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said he was prepared to play Arthur against the Rockets, but the forward opted to push back his first appearance to help familiarize himself with the offense.
"I had one practice with the team," said Arthur, who had surgery to repair a partially torn right pectoralis muscle. "I just feel like I was a step slow. Not physically, but mentally. Just knowing the plays and knowing where I need to be on the court. I think I just need one more day to get myself together mentally. Physically, I think I'm ready to go."
Arthur's return could provide the Grizzlies with a needed boost off the bench. The Grizzlies average 103.1 points, but the reserves are contributing only 19.8. The reserves, led by rookies DeMarre Carroll, Sam Young and Hasheem Thabeet, plus veteran guard Jamaal Tinsley, who was signed during the season, have outscored the opponent's reserves only eight times this season.
Arthur averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in almost 20 minutes a game as a rookie. During Summer League play last year, he averaged 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds.
"I'd like for him to be what he was in the Summer League," Hollins said. "He scored points. He made open jumpers and he rebounded. He's an athletic (forward), who can shoot the ball facing up, can run the court, rebound and play above the rim."
Arthur believes he can be a useful reserve for the Grizzlies.
"I think I do a good job of getting everybody in their positions," he said. "We have a lot of rookies coming off the bench, and I can help those guys out on where they need to be, and just bring energy."