Pau Gasol was sidelined for the entire 2019/20 season due to a left foot injury, but has stated repeatedly that he hopes to play professionally for one more season and represent Spain in the Tokyo Olympics before calling it a career. In an interview with Efe (link via Marca.com), Gasol restated that desire and said he expects to determine soon, as he ramps up his workouts, whether or not it will be possible.
“This pandemic, with all the bad it has brought us, is giving me a little more time to recover from my foot injury,” Gasol said, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “The progression is being positive. In the next month or month and a half, my level of demand on the court will be very high, and then I will find out if I can compete again.”
Gasol suffered a stress fracture in his left foot during the fall of 2018. He was able to return to the court later that season, appearing in 18 more games for the Spurs and three for the Bucks, but ongoing issues with the foot have prevented him from playing at all during the last year.
Speaking to Spanish media in June, Gasol said he hoped to play one more season in the NBA or Europe, citing two of his former teams – the Lakers and FC Barcelona – as potentially attractive spots to finish his playing career.
A subsequent report suggested that a return to Barcelona appeared to be in the cards for Gasol, but that story was quickly shot down, and the 40-year-old reiterated this week that there’s nothing to it. Gasol told Efe that he was surprised by how the rumor – and another report suggesting that his brother Marc Gasol was signing with Barcelona – spread without any confirmation from the player or team.
“I do not know if they have come from the same source… but if in the end things do not come out of the player or the club, they are only rumors,” Gasol said, referring to the stories as “fake news.”
The Tokyo Olympics, which were pushed back from 2020 to 2021, are currently scheduled to begin on July 23, with Spain among the eight countries that have qualified so far for the men’s basketball tournament.
Gasol was part of the Spanish squads that earned silver medals in 2008 and 2012 and a bronze in 2016, so if he’s able to play in Tokyo and Spain finishes in the top three, he would claim his fourth Olympic medal.