The Memphis Grizzlies have gotten back to playing their grinding style of basketball as of late after a rough start to the 2013-14 NBA season while new head coach Dave Joerger was experimenting with a faster paced offense. As a result, the Grizzlies have enjoyed much more success over the past couple of weeks than they did initially this year.
However, the Grizzlies are going to be without a key cog in their system, both offensively and defensively, as center Marc Gasol is now out for several weeks with a sprained MCL. Gasol, the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is not only the anchor for one of the league’s best defense, but is also a fantastic offensive player in terms of his ability to score, facilitate with interior passing, and stretch defenses with his play in the high-post. Losing him is certainly a detriment to this team, even if Kosta Koufos is a quality replacement for him as the starting center.
The Grizzlies might not have to wait as long as doctors are projecting to get Gasol back, at least if Memphis’ big man has his way about the proceedings.
According to a report from the Associated Press (via ESPN), Gasol initially wanted to get back on the floor as soon as he heard that he wasn’t going to need surgery, but the team forced him to sit out and wear a brace while rehabbing the injury. Even with being forced to do that, Gasol is still chomping at the bit to get back on the floor for his team, saying “as soon as I can put my foot down on the floor and I can walk, I’m going to rush it and speed the process.” The prognosis says that the center will be on crutches for three-to-four weeks before he can fully rehab, though.
Obviously you don’t want to see guys come back too soon and risk re-injuring themselves, but you have to respect Gasol’s dedication to his team and the game of basketball. As if his on-court performance wasn’t enough to do so, this only confirms further why he’s such an effective and worthy leader for the Grizz.