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Pau Gasol: What Lakers Star's Injury Means for Team

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 21: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers rebounds against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 21, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 95-83. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 6, 2013

You can add Pau Gasol to the list of walking wounded for the Los Angeles Lakers after the star forward will be forced to miss time thanks to an injury.

According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), Gasol is set to miss significant time as a result of a partial tear in his plantar fascia:

Pau Gasol has a partial tear of his plantar fascia and is expected to be out at least six weeks, league source tells @cbssports.

— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 6, 2013

The injury to Gasol does have both its positives and negatives, so let's take a closer look at what it means for the Lakers moving forward.

 

The Positives

It's no secret that Gasol doesn't fit head coach Mike D'Antoni's system. The 32-year-old is a solid interior presence when at his best, but he only has a decent mid-range game that isn't sufficient for spreading the floor the way the Lakers would like him to.

Trade rumors have been circulating around Gasol throughout the season and his dissatisfaction with his new bench role has been well documented.

With him being out of the lineup for so long, Los Angeles' coach, players and management won't have to deal with the distraction of everyday speculation and questions since it's doubtful any team will have interest in an injured Gasol.

 

The Negatives

Despite his inability to spread the floor as D'Antoni would like, Gasol is still an important part of what the Lakers do—especially with his contributions off the bench as a scorer and rebounder.

Gasol is averaging 13.4 points per game to go along with eight rebounds and that's production the Lakers will sorely miss. The team is currently ranked No. 6 in points per game (102.1) and No. 3 in rebounds per game (45.1), however both of those numbers figure to take a hit without Gasol.

On a team that ranks No. 24 in the NBA in points allowed per game (100.5), Gasol's 1.3 blocks per contest and solid defensive effort on the inside will also be a major loss.

In the big man department, the Lakers are already thin after losing Jordan Hill to a season-ending injury, and Dwight Howard has been sidelined with shoulder issues.

In a recent report by Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Howard stated that he was in "no rush" to return to the floor. That might have to change with this news about the severity of Gasol's injury and D12 could be returning long before he's actually ready to do so, thus risking further injury.

 

Conclusion

No matter what your opinion is of Gasol and his game, the fact is that he is still a productive player whose presence on the court makes the Lakers better. Without him, Los Angeles will further lack size, rebounding and scoring, which is not a good thing for a team that is 23-26 and in need of a win every night.

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