BOSTON — Pau Gasol’s worst fears just became reality.
An MRI taken on Wednesday determined that he has a tear in the plantar fascia in his right foot. Gasol will definitely sit out when the Lakers (23-26) play Thursday against the Boston Celtics (24-23), but the Lakers haven’t offered a definitive timetable on his recovery.
Gasol’s scheduled to fly to Los Angeles Thursday for an examination with team doctor Steve Lombardo and foot specialist Dr. Kenneth Jung. A timetable will be offered then.
Gasol has been nursing plantar fasciitis in his right foot for most of the season, so much so that he ranked the level of pain last week at eight out of 10. That significantly worsened in the final minutes of the Lakers’ 92-83 victory Tuesday over the Brooklyn Nets. After he said he “tweaked” his fascia in the first half, Gasol said he felt a “pop” in his foot while trying to block Brook Lopez’s shot late in the fourth quarter. After remaining on the floor for a few moments, Gasol stood up and tried to play through it. Shortly after limping up and down the court, Gasol hobbled back to the locker room with 3:51 remaining.
“I’m worried,” Gasol said shortly before indicating he was going to walk out of the locker room on crutches.
This only puts further strain on the Lakers, which have played without Dwight Howard for the past three games because of an aggravated labrum in his right shoulder.
The Lakers managed to win for the sixth time for the past seven games despite a depleted frontline, which included Metta World Peace serving a one-game suspension after the NBA determined he punched Pistons guard Brandon Knight in the team’s win Sunday over Detroit. With the absences, Earl Clark will start at center, while Antawn Jamison will start at power forward. Both have cracked double digits for the past five games.
But Kobe Bryant expressed skepticism afterwards whether the Lakers could absorb such absences over the long term.
“We can’t afford to lose Pau for a long stretch,” Bryant said. “We need to get him back.”
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