USA Today’s Sam Amick has confirmed that Marc Gasol’s knee injury was diagnosed as a Grade 2 MCL sprain.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, I’m told, has a Grade 2 MCL sprain. No surgery required. Out indefinitely.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) November 23, 2013
Indefinitely is a scary word, but we can compare Marc’s injury to similar situations with our own Quincy Pondexter and Zach Randolph, both of whom missed about eight weeks after similar knee injuries. Gasol missed just two games last season with an abdominal tear after an “indefinite” recovery timeline.
Grizzlies’ team doctor Fred Azar’s decision to forego surgery is in line with his usual conservative approach to MCL injuries, according to the Commercial Appeal’s Ron Tillery. Neither Randolph nor Pondexter went under the knife for their own injuries.
Kosta Koufos, who has been the Grizzlies’ best bench player so far this year, is likely to take Marc’s place in the starting line-up. (Koufos started 81 games for Denver last season, and his acquisition on draft night is looking bigger than ever.) Joerger also played Ed Davis for 18 minutes last night in Gasol’s absence — this may be yet another opportunity for Davis to prove his value to the team in significant minutes.
The next two months of Grizzlies basketball should be interesting.
— Chris Herrington (@HerringtonNBA) November 23, 2013
As much as we’ve learned about this year’s team in the last five or six games, we will learn quite a bit more as they play without Gasol: think back to Rudy Gay’s 2011 shoulder injury and the exceeded expectations that ensued. I’m not comparing Marc to Rudy, obviously — just pointing out the potential significance of removing a central offensive piece for two months.
There had been questions about Gasol’s apparent fatigue coming into this season, with some questioning whether his participation in EuroBasket over the summer affected his conditioning. One now wonders if the extra strain on his body may have triggered this injury, which was non-contact, and in what kind of shape he will return after a six to eight weeks on the bench.