San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol is out indefinitely with a broken left hand. Gasol suffered the injury during warm-ups, before Thursday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. The Spaniard sustained a fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his left hand. Gasol underwent surgery on Friday. There is no official timetable for Gasol’s return.
News of Gasol’s surgery was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
San Antonio's Pau Gasol undergoing surgery to repair fracture of fourth metacarpal in his left hand today, league sources tell @TheVertical.
Pau Gasol Out Indefinitely
Gasol, 36, has been a consistent contributor for Gregg Popovich’s team. Averaging 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds in 39 games this season. The 15-year NBA veteran, reportedly collided with teammate Kyle Anderson during pre-game warm-ups. The Spurs sent Gasol for x-rays to find out the true extent of the injury.
In Gasol’s absence, the Spurs started David Lee in Thursday’s 118-108 win over the Nuggets. Lee went on to put up 10 points and 16 rebounds. Proving the Spurs will miss Gasol, but with quality back-ups the season is still very much alive.
What Gasol is Giving the Spurs
Currently leading the team in both rebounding and blocks, Gasol continues to prove his worth. Despite being 36, the Spanish center is also the Spurs third most efficient player. Playing with a PER of 19.1, Gasol ranks behind only LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard. Providing valuable efficient minutes, leads to Gasol fitting into the Spurs system perfectly.
However, Gasol isn’t being used as much as previous seasons. Gasol has averaged over 30 minutes a game every year he’s been in the NBA. That includes his rookie year in Memphis. Now in his late thirties, Gasol is currently averaging 26.4 minutes per game. The lowest number of his career by some margin. Now there is one obvious reason for this. Gasol’s age plays a large part in the minutes reduction. It’s not Gasol’s fault, it just makes sense for Popovich to lessen the strain on the soon to be 37 year old center.
San Antonio Should Keep Rolling
With talented players all over the Spurs roster, Gasol’s loss of playing time leads to another example of why the Spurs should remain unaffected by Gasol’s absence. Popovich can afford to give Gasol playing time, because the ageing center has less responsibility. In previous seasons in Los Angeles and Memphis, Gasol was depended on as a first or second option. Where as in San Antonio, Leonard and Aldridge have the pressure heaped upon them. Gasol is great to have around and is what you call a glue-guy with the Spurs. A seasoned veteran, who the younger players can go to for advice, whilst putting up the numbers he is with the team.
Gasol may be a very talented player, but with the system in place in San Antonio, Spurs fans should’t be worried. Popovich’s team currently sit top of the Southwest Division, 1.5 games ahead of Houston. Gasol is a loss, but the Spurs have the players to fill the gap. The likes of Dewayne Dedmon and Lee will take on Gasol’s minutes. Many have said in past that the Spurs are an out-liar in the association. Popovich has always had talented players, but coaching and the system in place put the Spurs above most in today’s NBA.