Memphis Grizzlies star center Marc Gasol will miss the rest of the NBA campaign after undergoing surgery to correct a broken foot on Saturday.
The procedure was to repair a type two fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot. It's not yet known the exact timescale of the 31-year-old's recovery, but Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said: "We are confident we will have Marc back anchoring our team next season and beyond.”
The two-time All-Star suffered the break in the first quarter of the Grizzlies contest with Portland on February 8 and had been absent from the three games that followed, of which Memphis won two.
Gasol - now in his eighth season with the Grizzlies - had collected 11 points in the 10 minutes, 59 seconds of action he did see prior to his withdrawal. The Spaniard leaves the Western Conference franchise in a good place with a record of 32-23; that's currently the seventh-best in the league.
Unfortunately, Gasol will be sidelined for this season's business end and will almost certainly miss the Olympics in Brazil this summer.
A disappointed Gasol said: "It is frustrating to not be on the court with my teammates at this time, but I understand that the focus of this process is on long-term health and stability. I look forward to the road ahead and a full and successful recovery.”
The Grizzlies are lying fifth in the West but the loss of a vital component like Gasol is sure to hit the franchise hard. The onus will now likely fall on Zach Randolph and Mike Conley to bring a deep postseason run to the FedExForum.
The latter, Conley, said of Gasol: “His presence is still felt greatly within the locker room, and even while he is sidelined, he is still leading us as we push forward.”
The recently acquired Chris Anderson is a likely candidate to replace Gasol in the coming months with Brandon Wright the only other natural alternative.