Bulls’ Pau Gasol out at least two games with swollen knee

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If the playoffs started today, The Chicago Bulls would be on the outside looking in. They are a game back of eighth seed Detroit, although the two teams are tied in the loss column.

The good news is they should get Jimmy Butler back Monday, but this isn’t going to help matters — Pau Gasol is out for the next two games against Toronto and Washington, coach Fred Hoiberg said. Via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago and KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

The swelling is in Gasol’s right knee. He was already playing through a sore shoulder and assortment of other injuries that also now will get some rest.

Gasol’s raw numbers are impressive: 17 points and 11 rebounds a game, a PER of 22 and he’s an All-Star. The Bulls are 4.6 points per 100 possessions better this season when Gasol is on the court thanks to his offense, but Hoiberg has yet to find a consistent rotation where Gasol and the entire lineup thrives. The Bulls play their opponents even when Gasol is on the court.

Still, Gasol is giving them more than 30 quality minutes a night, that’s not going to be easy to replace, particularly against a couple of good teams also thinking playoffs this week.