Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol, of Spain, right, reacts as he and Minnesota Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic of Montenegro miss in their attempt for the rebound in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 in Minneapolis. Gasol led the Lakers with 22 points and had 12 rebounds as did Kobe Bryant in their 111-100 win. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Los Angeles Lakers, it has.
Pau Gasol was diagnosed Wednesday with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot, indefinitely sidelining the 7-foot Spaniard at a key point in the Lakers' belated rally to get in playoff position.
The Spaniard felt a pop in his foot Tuesday night late in the Lakers' 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. An MRI in Boston revealed the injury.
The Lakers (23-26) are losing Gasol right when their mostly miserable season is starting to improve with six wins in seven games, including three straight on their longest road trip of the season. Los Angeles also played the last three games without All-Star center Dwight Howard, who has a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and top backup big man Jordan Hill is out for the season with an injured hip.
"I'm hoping to recover asap so I can be back with the team and keep fighting until the end of the season," Gasol tweeted.
Gasol will fly to Los Angeles on Thursday to be examined by team physician Steve Lombardo and foot specialist Kenneth Jung. The Lakers announced they will give a timeline for Gasol's return after the examination, but the injury conceivably could keep Gasol out for several weeks or more if he undergoes surgery to repair the damage.
Gasol has been bothered by tendinitis in both knees and fasciitis for at least two months, hindering his progress since shortly after new coach Mike D'Antoni took over. The four-time All-Star big man also missed five games in January with a concussion, and Gasol largely has been coming off the bench for the Lakers since then.
Gasol is averaging a career-low 13.4 points per game and 8.0 rebounds while playing in just 36 of the Lakers' 49 games.
The Lakers finish their seven-game road trip with three games in four days, starting Thursday in Boston and concluding Sunday in Miami. Rookie center Robert Sacre is available to D'Antoni, and Howard isn't certain when he'll return from an injury that's troublesome, but likely manageable.
Based on reporting from The Associated Press.