The Memphis Grizzlies confirmed Marc Gasol will miss the remainder of the 2015-16 season, but the star center’s foot injury may keep him from another important venue.
Gasol, a leader of the Spanish national team, is expected to make a full recovery from a displaced Type II fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot. However, the rehabilitation likely will cause Gasol to miss the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Grizzlies announce that Marc Gasol had season-ending foot surgery Saturday. Olympic participation in doubt now with Spain in Rio
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 23, 2016
The 31-year-old finishes the season with an average of 16.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Spain will definitely miss a player of his caliber during the Olympics.
Gasol is widely considered one of the best passing big men in the NBA, let alone the world. Blake Griffin leads that category, while Joakim Noah and Marc’s brother Pau Gasol are in the conversation.
Memphis, which is currently fifth in the Western Conference standings, may have enough talent to reach the postseason without Gasol.
However, expecting anything more than a hard-fought first-round series is foolish. The Grizzlies have little chance to upend the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Clippers barring any significant injury to those squads, the likely top four seeds in the West.
But Gasol’s injury is also a knockout blow to Spain’s hopes for a gold medal.
Spain will rely on a pair of Chicago Bulls, Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic, to carry the offensive load. Ricky Rubio, Serge Ibaka and Rudy Fernandez are quality complementary players, but it would be nothing short of remarkable if they keep up with the USA squad.
Gasol’s injury means two teams will almost certainly fall a few rounds short of winning a championship.