Gasol has missed the past 26 games due to a foot injury that had him on a walking boot. While initially there was no diagnosis available to the media, it was later revealed that he had suffered a stress fracture. There was no timetable for his return, but he had recently started doing contact workouts. Clearly the medical staff is confident that the issue is in the past and Pau is ready to return.
Decent news for Spurs fans. pic.twitter.com/dn0vbddTRU— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) December 29, 2018
It’s unclear whether Pau will actually play against the Nuggets. Gregg Popovich might consider bringing him along slowly, since Gasol is a 38-year-old veteran. Jakob Poeltl’s great recent play might also factor in Pop’s decision to give Pau minutes right away. While earlier in the season Gasol was a key component of the bench unit as a distributor off the high post, the second unit’s offense has adjusted in his absence to feature more pick and rolls.
Whether Pau plays right away or not, it’s great to have him back. His presence gives the team another option at the center spot. His varied offensive skills and his ability to protect the rim make him a valuable piece.
Gasol is averaging 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 17.4 minutes a game this season.