Grizzlies Playoff Hopes Take Hit With Marc Gasol Injury
Winning just got a lot harder for the Memphis Grizzlies. Already struggling in the brutal Western Conference, things just got more difficult for Memphis due to a reported foot injury to star center Marc Gasol.
Gasol reportedly hurt his foot during Monday’s contest and limped to the locker room. Gasol was unable to return to the game and despite the team initially thinking Gasol was dealing with a mere sprain, learned on Tuesday afternoon that he suffered a foot fracture.
Griz center Marc Gasol has a broken right foot and will be out indefinitely, sources told The Commercial Appeal
— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) February 9, 2016
Gasol has had a very up and down season after signing a huge contract this past summer, while the rest of the Grizzlies have struggled to stay in a groove during a very inconsistent 2015-16 NBA season. Memphis was hoping to take a positive step forward in their bid for an NBA title, but a sluggish start and this latest injury threaten to bury them.
Memphis still has a clear path to the NBA playoffs, as they remain one of just nine NBA teams with 30 wins on the year. They also have 22 losses, however, and there isn’t much distance between them and some rising Western Conference foes such as the Rockets, Jazz and Blazers. It’s still tough to see Memphis sliding entirely out of the playoff picture with savvy veterans like Mike Conley and Zach Randolph leading the way, but losing Gasol for even one month could prove fatal to their cause.
Gasol meant two massive things for Memphis: a guaranteed 16-17 points per game on offense and a real man-eater down low defensively. Gasol can lay a body on any NBA center, can be a force on the boards and can also block shots. Without Gasol, the Grizz take a meteoric step down at the center position and for a team already running too much “small ball” as it were, they could be in some very real trouble rather quickly.
The first thing to be taken care of is Gasol’s exact injury and figuring out when he can return – if at all. If not, there is no last ditch trade to save the Grizzlies. They’ll maybe crack into the playoffs as the 7 or 8 seed in the West and they’ll get bounced. If they can hold on for dear life and their big man returns, they can hope for a similar fate and then rebound just in time to make a mild push.
NBA teams need to fine their groove ahead of the playoffs, though. If Gasol is done for the year or can’t make it back until right before the post-season begins, consider Memphis toast.
That’s probably the case anyways, though, especially if they somehow end up running into one of the Thunder, Warriors or Spurs in the first round. And even if they don’t, they probably couldn’t get past a healthy Clippers team.
Memphis wasn’t a favorite to make it far this year even with Gasol. But without him, they’re going to be a very tough team to bet on for however long he’s out.
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