Lakers’ Pau Gasol injures foot, leaves arena on crutches

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As a general rule of thumb, when an athlete says he felt a pop in his body then felt a lot of pain, it’s not a good sign.

That’s what happened to Pau Gasol with just a few minutes left in the Lakers win over Brooklyn on Tuesday night. He was trying to defend Brook Lopez in the post when he said he felt a pop in his foot, and he went to the ground clearly in pain. He tried to play through it but a minute later he was headed to the locker room.

After the game he left the locker room on crutches. He will undergo an MRI Wednesday in Boston to determine the severity of the injury, tweets Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.

Gasol had been battling some plantar fasciitis this season, an inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. If that pop was a tear of plantar fascia Gasol could be out a few weeks, if it was a rupture that could be more like six weeks or more.

Gasol didn’t sound optimistic, as reported by Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“I tweaked my fascia in the first half, so I was dealing with quite a bit of soreness in the second half,” said Gasol, who left the game with 3:50 remaining. “So I couldn’t do certain things.

“I was dealing with it, but that play when I tried to jump off of it and try go block the shot (by Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez) just as I took off, I felt a pop in the bottom of my foot on my fascia and I couldn’t get up. I’m worried about it.”

The Lakers had won the last three games with Gasol starting in place of Dwight Howard, who is out with shoulder.

Howard said he didn’t know if he would play on Thursday when the Lakers take on the Celtics. The Lakers have already lost reserve big man Jordan Hill for the season with a hip injury. If Gasol is out — as it appears he will be — that will put more pressure on Howard to play. And play well, because the Lakers have looked better the last three games with Gasol starting at the five than they did with Howard in that role lately.