Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who missed the end of the 2015/16 season and the Olympics after breaking his foot in February, has been cleared to return to the court, reports Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. According to Tillery, Gasol recently headed back to Memphis for strength and conditioning, and has been playing in some pickup games as he prepares for training camp.
As Tillery details, Gasol spent a good chunk of the offseason doing rehab work in his home country of Spain, though his regimen was monitored closely by the Grizzlies. The club took a cautious approach to the 31-year-old’s rehab and are “upbeat” about having a healthy and productive Gasol for the coming season, a source tells Tillery.
Although there’s “growing optimism” about Gasol’s recovery, Memphis will proceed with some caution, Tillery writes. Gasol suffered his fracture in the mid-foot area, which is a tough injury to recover from, so the Grizzlies may keep the two-time All-Star on a minutes limit to start the year.
Gasol, who ultimately missed 30 regular-season games and was out for the playoffs last season, will enter the second year of a five-year, maximum-salary contract in 2016/17. After a busy offseason, the Grizzlies will now have three players on max salaries, with Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons joining Gasol to combine for a total cap hit of nearly $70MM this season.