When word came down that two-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol had a fractured foot, it wasn’t expected he would return this season. But the Grizzlies tried to keep that door open, just in case.
It’s shut now.
The Grizzlies announced Tuesday that Gasol had surgery to repair a non-displaced Type II fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot — that means putting screws into the bone across the top of the foot just below the ankle. He is officially done for the season and the playoffs.
Gasol also likely will miss playing for Spain in the Rio Olympics this summer.
“It is frustrating to not be on the court with my teammates at this time,” Gasol said in a released statement, “but I understand that the focus of this process is on long-term health and stability. I look forward to the road ahead and a full and successful recovery.”
Some players bounce back from this surgery and are fine (Michael Jordan in 1985), others never get past it (Yao Ming).
Gasol is averaging 16.6 points and seven rebounds a game for the Grizzlies. He’s seemed a step slower this season, but he remains one of the best big men in the league.
At 32-23, the Grizzlies are the current five seed in the West, five games from falling out of the playoffs. With no Gasol and no Courtney Lee (traded to Charlotte at the deadline) it’s a very real possibility Memphis slides down the standings some before the playoffs start. Memphis has won two of three since Gasol injured his foot against Portland, but it will be a challenge to keep racking up the wins without two key players, including their defensive anchor.