Marc Gasol will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery Saturday on his broken right foot, the team announced. The 31-year-old is expected to recovery fully, the team’s statement added, and the club’s brass doesn’t expect the injury to alter his career path, a source tells Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). The technical term for the ailment is a non-displaced Type II fracture of the navicular bone, according to the Grizzlies. It’s not the most serious form of navicular bone fracture, Herrington hears (Twitter link).
The news that Gasol will miss the rest of 2015/16 is no shock, as Marca.com reported a couple of weeks ago, in the immediate wake of the injury, that Gasol was liable to miss four to six months. The team didn’t reveal a specific timeline for the center’s recovery, but GM Chris Wallace hinted in the press release that the team believes Gasol will be ready to start next season.
“Marc remains a cornerstone of our franchise and we are pleased to hear that the surgery went according to plan,” Wallace said. “Marc’s determination and competitive spirit will serve him, his family and the team well as he begins the healing and rehab process from which we expect him to make a full recovery. We are confident we will have Marc back anchoring our team next season and beyond.”
Memphis isn’t in line for any roster relief to compensate for the injury, with the January 15th deadline to apply for a disabled player exception long since passed and too few players on the sideline to qualify for a hardship provision of an extra roster spot. Jordan Adams, out since January because of right knee surgery, is on track to return in the next few weeks, and Memphis has no other long-term injury concerns. However, the loss of Gasol is monumental, and the Grizzlies have already made moves with apparent recognition that they won’t go as far as expected this season, acquiring five draft picks while offloading soon-to-be free agents Jeff Green and Courtney Lee in trades last week. Memphis is 32-23 and in fifth place in the Western Conference, 18 games behind the first-place Warriors.
Gasol is fresh off signing a five-year, maximum-salary deal this past summer, so while the Grizzlies apparently don’t expect lingering effects from the injury, it’s not an auspicious sign for their ability to extract fair value from the contract. He nonetheless displayed continued strong production this season, especially on offense, where his 16.6 points per game were the second most of his career, trailing only last year’s 17.4 per-game scoring average.
Memphis doesn’t appear hesitant to commit as lucrative a contract as necessary to bring back 28-year-old Mike Conley when he enters free agency this summer, even though he, like Gasol, would be well into his 30s by the time a five-year pact would end.