A Pau Gasol injury update confirms that the San Antonio Spurs star has a broken bone in his left hand. The injury took place on Thursday night (Jan. 19) against the Denver Nuggets, with the team confirming the bad news for fantasy basketball owners and Spurs fans. A report by NBA analyst Paul Garcia seems to have been confirmed, with the Spurs indefinitely losing the All-Star center to this injury.
The Gasol injury took place during pregame warm-ups when he jammed his left hand against the shoulder of Kyle Anderson. Garcia stated that he saw the injury take place as Gasol was attempting a right hook in practice, catching his left hand on Anderson in the process. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich already commented on the situation, revealing that Gasol could be out for a while. That’s bad news for the Spurs as the team tries to remain near the top of the Western Conference.
This latest Pau Gasol injury is going to be tough for the team to deal with, as he is an important component on both offense and defense. Through 39 games this season (all starts), Gasol has been averaging 26.4 minutes a night as the primary center for the San Antonio Spurs. In his first season with the team, Gasol is averaging 11.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Those numbers will be difficult for the Spurs to replace in the normal rotation of players.
The Spurs ended up beating the Nuggets on Thursday night to improve to 33-9 on the season. In the updated NBA standings, the Spurs trail just the Golden State Warriors (36-6) for the top seed in the Western Conference. The team has been playing very well with Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge as the two main low post players, with Gasol stepping into the role previously held by Tim Duncan. The Spurs have maintained that momentum created when Aldridge joined the team and clearly, the team is one of the contenders to make it to the NBA Finals from the West.
What the Spurs have to be concerned about in short-term, is that the Houston Rockets (33-12) are trying to catch them in the Southwest Division standings. The new-look Rockets, led by James Harden at point guard now, have been playing much better during the 2016-17 NBA season. The Rockets now trail the Spurs by only one and a half games in the division, with a big game coming against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night (Jan. 20). Winning that game could certainly give the Rockets even more momentum in the playoff race.
The Pau Gasol injury didn’t seem to bother the San Antonio Spurs very much when they played the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, but there are tougher opponents coming up on the NBA schedule. That begins with a road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday (Jan. 21). This is a test for the Spurs, as the Cavs are not a team that anyone wants to go up against short-handed. David Lee, who had 10 points and 16 rebounds against the Nuggets, will be relied heavily on by Gregg Popovich to get the team second-chance opportunities.
Following the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the San Antonio Spurs will play the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, and Oklahoma City Thunder to wrap up the month of January. The next four games are all on the road, so Popovich and his team will have to learn to adjust to life without Gasol while away from the comforts of home. There are likely to be further Paul Gasol injury updates as the big man goes through any necessary procedures on his hand, with the team possibly giving a timetable for his return soon.
[Featured Image by Rob Carr/Getty Images]