The Memphis Grizzlies are a team in the NBA’s Western Conference that largely go under the radar, but have a dark-horse chance at winning the West. With their elite defense and one of the best frontcourts in basketball, the Grizzlies have been able to find a ton of success this season. However, both of the things they excel at have taken a hit with the recent news regarding Marc Gasol.
Gasol missed Memphis’ game on Saturday against the Boston Celtics, his absence being accompanied by the news that he has an abdominal tear. The team also announced that he would be out indefinitely with the abdominal injury. The word indefinite in itself is troubling, given that it could be a couple of games or it could be a couple of months. To a team dealing with an injured player, that term is about as comfortable as a bed full of rocks covered in itching powder.
As bad as indefinite injuries normally are, it’s even worse for the Grizzlies and Gasol. Gasol is part of the heartbeat of this team. On the year he’s averaging 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, one steal and 1.7 blocks per game on 49.2 percent shooting. Gasol is Grizzlies’ best defender and most versatile big-man on offense. He’s undoubtedly the Renaissance man in Memphis.
Gasol’s replacements in the post will be a combination of Darrell Arthur and Ed Davis. Both of those guys do a few things well, but neither of them do everything nor do anything as well as Gasol does when he’s healthy. The Grizzlies are going to have to doggie-paddle over however long Gasol is out. He keeps the pulse on this team healthy and they’re likely to struggle without him on the floor.