Injury Update: Pau Gasol Out Indefinitely with Torn Plantar Fascia

Darius Soriano —  February 6, 2013

Pau Gasol’s MRI results are in and the results are not good. Per Mike Trudell from, Pau is out indefinitely with a partially torn plantar fascia:

Earlier reports from Ken Berger have Pau missing at least 6 weeks if he decides to let the tear heal on its own, or 12 weeks if surgery is the decided course of action. However, as Trudell reports, the Lakers aren’t yet putting a timetable on Pau’s recovery until he can meet with team doctors and a foot specialist. That said, in any event, Pau will be out for a some time and that, of course, is bad news for the Lakers.

Gasol was just starting to find his stride in Mike D’Antoni’s offense both as a replacement for Dwight Howard and in playing next to him. As we noted, Gasol’s shooting efficiency has been up in recent weeks and his individual defense, while not elite, was better than it had been all season. When you add those things to the constants in his game — the passing, rebounding, the general feel of where to be and when — Gasol was a difference maker for the team. Especially with Dwight missing games due to his shoulder injury.

It’s this total skill set that makes “replacing” Pau Gasol impossible. His skill set is too varied and unique for any one player to come in and adequately give the Lakers what they miss with him absent. Not to by hyperbolic, but not even Dwight’s return replaces what Gasol gives the team.

So, seeking another player on the open market is complicated. There are names out there — Kenyon Martin, Troy Murphy, Brian Cook, Sean Williams — who are free agents and could be useful, but to think that any of them should even be considered good options is overselling their abilities at this point.

If I were making decisions, I’d rather play Robert Sacre more until Dwight is ready to return and potentially add a wing so that Ron could slide up to play PF for the majority of his minutes. Since Earl Clark’s emergence, Ron has been more of a SF on offense but he’s still guarded most PF’s the Lakers have faced while Clark has chased players around the perimeter. A more full time shift of Ron to PF with the Lakers exploring options in the wing (where capable 10-15 minute players are easier to find) is the much more reasonable option, rather than combing through the incredibly slim pickings in the FA bigs market.

All that said, it needs to be restated that whatever decision is made, there’s really not a “solution” out there. Losing Gasol is a major blow to the Lakers’ season and finding a way to stay afloat and still make a push for  the playoffs will be incredibly difficult. Even when Dwight returns, the rest of the roster will need to step up a great deal and perform at levels they may not be capable of — at least not consistently.

So, at this point, all the Lakers can do is hope that Howard returns soon, that Pau’s timeline is on the shorter end of the estimates out there, and that the current roster raises their games enough to fill in the gaps the best that they can.

Darius Soriano

Posts Twitter Facebook

to Injury Update: Pau Gasol Out Indefinitely with Torn Plantar Fascia

  1. 2 weeks till the All-Stars. 1 week of All-Stars. Plenty of time to heal and rest. This is one of the reasons you don’t strain yourself in the off-season (all the time) and risk your injuries during the season. Pau Gasol has had no rest over the past couple of summers.


  2. Snake bitten this season. But, as Metta said this is an opportunity to do something spectacular. Well for one, no more wrestling antics or perceived punches, Metta.

    The duke, duke, duke, Duke of Earl has played out of this world this season, but relying on him to anchor the middle in a small lineup may be overwhelming. The Lakers now have Sacre as the starting center…Sacrebleu!

    Pau’s injury is the only thing that will get him rest, and allow him a valid reason to decline playing for his country. This down time now and in the summer should be restorative to his game and mobility. Now he can hit the weights and gain strength. Reshape his body and come back next season with a little muscle bulk.

    Get well soon, Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol.

    Get well and come back focused and ready to drive the team to the playoffs, Dwight Howard.

    Keep the drive alive, Lakers.


  3. Warren,

    Can’t fault a guy for playing for his country. I would assume the tear was made much more likely by Gasol trying to play through his plantar fascitis (strain it and play until it broke)

    Your comment on Rest would have been even more applicable to gasol’s trying to play through an injury while with the lakers this season.
    But we all appreciate the latter.


  4. What happened to CDR, did he get picked up by another team in the league? He seemed to be a good athlete and would fit in with Nash running the floor in a Matt Barnes kind of role. Everytime this team seems to turn a corner this season, a bear is on the other side. Hopefully the roster can be tweaked to absorb some of the bleeding, wont stop it, for a while.


  5. This is one of the risks with an older team – nagging injuries.

    Dwight was our only ‘youngster’ and he was recovering from a back injury. Much of this season was foreseen by bloggers, but I don’t think anyone anticipated the sequential nature of these injuries.

    It is hard to realize that Kobe is a physical anomaly and other players see progressively less time as their careers wind down.

    As frustrating as all this is, the silver lining – and it is a true silver lining – is Earl Clark. He is so versatile and consistent at this point in his career that he could go anywhere from here. He could actually become a well rounded all-star, if he improves in just a couple of areas over the next year or two. He is the kind of player – like Shaun Marion or Lamar Odom – that every successful team needs. He fits perfectly with Mike DiAntoni’s concept of team. He also owes his emergence to the Lakers and seems to understand that his most promising future would seem to lie in Los Angeles with Mike DiAntoni as a coach and the Laker mystique to further his endorsement desires. His downside would be that he becomes a dependable role player on a high level team – quite a change from a first round bust destined for being out of the NBA after the end of this year (his most likely future prospect before so many players were injured in front of him).

    I really hope he becomes part of the foundation the Lakers need going forward in 2014/15.


  6. Maybe I am crazy but not feeling all is lost. Dwight will be shamed into playing sooner or later, so then they aren’t that short handed…The issue becomes, can Dwight stay in the line up and how effective can he be, and how will he now work with the rest of the roster.

    Boston will be tough tomorrow, but they are coming off a back to back, so that might help…And while tough, they are no dynasty. and perhaps, all this hardship helps the further development of the decent chemistry we have seen recently.

    One thing this will certainly do is put an end to all whining. Their plight is now pretty clear, no room for anything but bonding. And perhaps it is now clear, why limiting Pau’s minutes somewhat this year was not a bad idea. Wondering how the ownership group is now feeling about a guy who is in his later years and still earns 19+ million/year, continues to play a ton of competitive ball in the summer, and has a bunch of chronic ailments to start the season.


  7. Injuries are a risk to all teams, not just older teams : ) Reference the 81 Lakers, the 83 Lakers, or the 2012 Bulls for a more recent example. The older teams have more risk, but injuries are just something that can always happen, and if they are too significant there is no comeback story on the NBA. It does seem as though I quit talking about a certain subject right at the correct time, because that discussion is now officially over. I do agree however – that not all is lost – because we still have Kobe – and nobody else does.


  8. Apologies in advance for the length of this post…. i hope we can work out what I’m wrestling with here as a community.. but i can understand if this is a tl;dr for many of you.

    The Lakers are in big-man injury crisis right now. With Gasol out until at least April, Jordan Hill done for the season, and Dwight Howard taking his sweet time (something I understand as a person but hate as a fan), you could be forgiven for wondering if this bizarre, disaster-strewn campaign’s hopes have finally been extinguished. How are the Lakers going to cope with Robert Sacre, AKA “Mister Irrelevant Eh”, being their only Center?
    Fans and pundits have already started looking at big man replacements in the bargain bin, and there really isn’t much there to look at.

    I postulate that the Lakers will be able to survive the upcoming stretch of games until Dwight Howard returns (for the sake of argument this return will be March 5th, against the Thunder – or just under a month from now, or 11 games) entirely by going small – smaller than maybe even D’Antoni is comfortable with. This means having Sacre playing – at most – 22MPG Why 22MPG? it’s a big enough role for him to impact play, but not so big that the Lakers are relying on him.

    Here is the current C Rotation: Sacre. That’s it.

    Currently Sacre would play 48 minutes a game without going small. Clearly, this isn’t the 22MPG that I suggested, so we must consider alternatives.

    What if we combine the SF, PF, and C slots to create one rotation of interchangeable players? Now we have MWP, Sacre, Clark, and Jamison. These 4 players are playing a total of 144 minutes, or 36 minutes each. On the surface, this seems like a potential solution, Except that Sacre is playing 36MPG, which is still 14MPG more than we are comfortable giving him. We could just take those additional 14 minutes and divvy them up to the remaining players, but that would mean that the remaining players are at just under 41MPG, way too high of an average to be sustainable for Jamison and MWP, and too many minutes to entrust Earl Clark with as well.

    What if we add the SG slot into the mix? Now we can add Kobe and Meeks to the rotation. Now we are divvying up 192 minutes to 6 players, bringing the average MPG to 32. Distribute Sacre’s 10 extra minutes evenly, and you have each remaining player averaging 34MPG
    How does this work though? Let’s look at the Potential Depth Chart. Players in brackets are considered a stretch for the position, but could play there in a pinch
    C: Sacre, Clark (Jamison) (MWP)
    PF: Clark, Jamison, MWP (Sacre*)
    SF: MWP, Kobe, (Clark) (Meeks) (Jamison)
    SG: Kobe, Meeks (MWP)
    PG: Nash, Blake, (Morris) (Duhon)
    *Sacre could potentially play PF, but in theory only. A Sacre-MWP front court with MWP at C and Sacre at PF is just absurd.
    As you can see, there are enough lineup options available to D’Antoni to make this work, and that’s even before considering having both Steves on the court at the same time.

    This is what I envision, a positional revolution.
    Blake-Nash-Meeks-Kobe-Jamision (Absolute Smallest) to Kobe-MWP-Clark-Jamison-Sacre (biggest) ….. and everything in between.** If D’Antoni is indeed the master of the mismatch, then this is the biggest playground he has played in yet, and the results could be amazing.

    Or Chaos…. We’ll settle for Controlled Chaos i think.

    **I’m not advocating either of those two linups. they both sound horrible actually.

    In the end though it really only comes down to this; Meeks and Jamison will be given 30-36 minutes a night in a small-ball system, and they will need to produce good shooting (Meeks) and good off-ball movement coupled with passable interior defense (Jamison) more times than not to result in a net positive

    If the can manage that, While Howard is out the Lakers could go 7-4, maybe even 8-3 to get the Lakes to 30-30 or 31-29 with 22 games left. If not, the Lakers could go 5-6 or 6-5, and still be 2-4 games under .500 with 22 games to go.

    Is this Lunacy? is this madness? or is it so crazy it just might work?

    let’s talk about it!


  9. Church….

    Maybe that’s what this team needs.

    Now need Dwight to man, man up. This team can beat the bad by bonding more. Mitch needs to make some magic. A Kenyon Martin type is now needed.


  10. You are correct. Injuries can hit any team. However, you need to expect nagging injuries when you have a preponderance of older players.

    I do not agree with the bloggers who say we have to bring in somebody. This team has developed a chemistry that is hard won. Don’t risk it just to bring in a body. If we bring in someone, then make it the correct ‘someone’, not just a big to replace one of ours. Maybe we just need to bring MWP in off the perimeter and ask him to rebound more and add another 3pt shooter – not sayin’, just suggesting a possible direction.


  11. so just a little tid-bit for everyone looking at earl clark like the silver lining – remember that he will be a free agent at seasons end and all of his playing time will now make his price for the upcoming season go through the roof on a team where we already have our 3 top forwards locked up in Dwight (hopefully) Gasol and Hill – if he gets even 3-4 million offer from another team I doubt we match it as it would cost us 8-10 million per year on top of the 180 million we have already on the books if we resign dwight

    The Duke of Earl will not be a Laker next year.


  12. I say we trade Gasol if we can’t find the money to resign Earl. Hes young, athletic and has a lot of potential. Hes exactly what the Lakers need on the team. Of course we have to see if Dwight resigns otherwise theres no point in trading Pau.


  13. No way this team makes the playoffs now. It was a good run though. I will keep watching them anyway and hope we can make it to 500.


  14. I would not advocate trading Pau, Gary, but even if Mitch were to share your thoughts, good luck finding someone who would trade for a guy who’s 32, coming off a serious foot injury on top of what’s been the worst season (statistically) of his career. Oh, and he’s owed $19 million next season.

    Let. Dwight. Walk. Use “his” money to resign Clark and perhaps add another younger piece or two, and go for it again in 2013-14. The Lakers would be much better off with Pau back next season than with Howard’s cancerous presence.

    This season’s a lost cause in terms of title hopes, but the right moves here and there can position the Lakers to be better next year.


  15. @TheNCDon – good question. CDR went to the D-League and was then picked up by Dallas. He was waived on Jan. 6. As far as I know, he’s available. I agree – I would really like to see a guy like that back with the team.

    Jamison is going to have to fill a good part of the void as far as scoring. goes. This should be a no-brainer.- it’s what he does and why he was signed. It was a given that he’d have to find a role here but a good part of his signing also had to do with being a major insurance policy. A big opportunity just opened up for him.

    I haven’t agreed with how MDA chose to use Pau but that’s just become entirely moot. Once again, the season reboots.


  16. Chris J – While we could use “Dwight money” to re-sign Earl C at the end of the season, I don’t think we can use it to add FA pieces. We’ll still be over the cap with Kobe, Pau, Nash, JHill, Blake & Duhon. MWP has a player option for almost $8m, and we have a $1.5m option on Meeks. That’s somewhere north of $78m for 8 guys.

    It will be another interesting off-season in LA.


  17. Lakers can’t catch a break this year. It’s only right to be optomistic after seeing these last 6 games but this injury is probably the end of the playoff chances. If Earl Clark can take his game to another level and suddenly turn into shawn marion there’s still a chance. But without Pau, hill and probably Dwight (mentally) the season is over.

    Next 4 weeks 7 of 12 are road games. And Lakers still have to go to Bos, Mia, Den, Okc (next 4 weeks) Atl, Indy, Gs, Mil, Sac, Por. Not counting home games vs Lac, Bos, Atl, Chi, Mem, Gs, Sa and Hou.Would be tough fully healthy but seems mountains too steep this time around.


  18. What a season.

    Now Dwight will feel even more pressure to return, and we’ll be playing small ball with a roster that, when healthy, would be playing the exact opposite.


  19. Joe/Kevin

    I guarantee we are making the playoffs.

    This is Hollywood and I have seen the script.

    We are in!


  20. Regarding Earl Clark:
    Yes, he is a free agent the summer. Yes, we are over the cap – and will be, no matter what we do or who we trade.

    However, you have to think strategically. MWP and Pau are in contract years and could probably be traded to a team also needing to get under the cap after next year – I would want draft picks as a priority in return. I agree, Pau wouldn’t be traded unless we signed Dwight, but I doubt he would drag things out – he doesn’t need the hit to his reputation, regardless his decision.

    We also have to start planning for what to do in 2014/15 and Earl Clark could be a good risk, depending on what he does the rest of this year. Jordan Hill will be back for his final year, so we can wait to see how the two of them work together before making a decision at the end of next year. That would leave us with Nash and Clark for 2014/15, plus a possibly resigned Kobe and Jordan Hill. We also might keep a couple of our bench players through this time and that would be a foundation for going forward in 2014/15
    Guards: Nash, Kobe
    Forward/Center: Clark, Hill
    Center: Howard

    The front office has to be thinking about how they are going to get to this year and still be under the lux cap. From previous articles, it is unlikely we will be able to make a major free-agent signing for two years (14/15 & 15/16) because of the repeater tax.

    This would give us a fighting chance next year – even being over the cap – and still have a somewhat competitive club going forward.


  21. For those thinking that 2014/15 is too far into the future to impact anything we do today, remember the landscape of the NBA is likely to radically change in that year. OKC could be in serious trouble of a repeater tax and Miami will have even more serious problems. BOS will be done, SA will be different, Houston will struggle to stay within budget, and CHI will have some very difficult choices to make. This is one reason it may be the owners who want to blow up the CBA in 2017.

    In any case, teams not making serious plans now about how to operate in that environment will pay a very heavy price. One of the things the Lakers have always been good at is adjusting quickly to the financial aspects of the NBA. Perhaps it is the Buss family getting the majority of their income from the Lakers, their talent in the front office, or a combination, but Mitch has been in that office since the middle 80s and must be thinking about all this stuff as he goes about trying to win a championship in the next two years.

    One track minds are not rewarded in today’s sports world.


  22. Craig the TW deal is the most lucrative in the NBA. Lakers will continue to have the highest payroll. I don’t expect that to change. Franchise is now worth over a billion and was bought for 5% of that.

    Wish I had Jerry Buss’s problems.


  23. Kooo: I hope they do and i’m sure the busses aa well. Home playoff games have dipped last 2 years.

    Didn’t think kobe called out dwight post game but he sure did today. Hopefully it toughens him up and he doesn’t break.


  24. One more upside…Houston and Portland lost. Houston is now only two ahead in the loss column and there is one game left with them, (which is on the last day of the season and may determine the playoffs) But assuming the Lakers can win that, the season series would be tied at 2-2 and Lakers are likely in good shape to win the next tie- break, conference record, (they are well ahead already (2.5 games) and catching them means probably winning a bunch of conference games anyway, including the game against Houston). So they only need to make up one in the loss column if we count the last game of the year….that sounds imminently more doable then the hole we seemed to be in all year, despite the fact that Houston is starting to look really threatening again.


  25. Maybe with Pau hurt Devin Ebanks might get some run… he’s 6′ 9 and athletic… I remember him playing good D on Durant that one regular season home game where MWP got ejected for that elbow to Harden’s noggin…

    Hopefully he’s inspired by Clark’s play and has been working on his game even though he hasn’t been getting any burn.


  26. …let dwight go… and resign clark?

    let a 16 and 11 guy —with better D, while injured, with a PER of 19— walk and keep the 7 and 6 guy, with worse D (PER of 15)?

    Are you guys serious? That’s some hardcore arm-chair GM-ing!!!! 🙂


  27. I´ve enjoyed a lot of the posts fellas and one thing that generally seems to stand out to me is a healthy optimism, which I too feel – of course we´re gonna need a bit of luck from here on out, I mean, haven´t we been making do without it for most (if not all) of this crazy season?!
    I´m on board with the following previously-stated comments: a) Dwight´s gotta step up and not look back, b) Meeks is gonna have to step up too, c) FO, wut up with CDR?, d) i agree that we needn´t bring someone in, & e) we´ve got Kobe! [it´s crystal clear he can´t carry the load alone, but here´s a man who defies odds and KNOWS about perseverance & adversity]
    Give the celtics hell tonight Lakers!!
    Get well soon Pau-
    oh yeah! i agree with Ray B as well, give Ebanks a shot!


  28. Very difficult to find any “silver linings” or positives after this. There has been a ton of smack-talk about Pau recently, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, we are sure going to miss him now. People frequently talked about LO (and now have started to talk about EC) as a “swiss army knife” and that was true. But Pau was a pretty mutli-faceted piece himself, and I suspect that his BBIQ is going to be sorely missed in the next couple of months.

    SO–all that is left is to truly take one game at a time. The Evil Shamrocks are next, and it would be tough at the Garden even at full strength

    But this game doesn’t present facially-horrible matchup problems, at least on paper. Fortunately for LA, BOS doesn’t trot out a massive front line. BB and Garnett will be tough, but neither of them are classic low-post threats like Lopez is for BKN (as an aside–if LA had ended up playing a bigger piece of the game sans Pau against Lopez, I think they would have been sunk). BB, while strong, is only 6-8. The only true centers on the roster are Jason Collins and Fab Melo. In recent games, BOS’ rotation in the front “3” has included Garnett, BB, Pierce, Green, Wilcox, and Collins. There are potential matchup problems there, but it could be much worse. If MWP, Clark, Sacre, Jamison (and probably Kobe and Meeks, if recent games where both have seen action at the “3” are any indication) can hang in there against that group and fight it to a bloody draw, I’m cautiously optimistic that Kobe, Nash, Meeks, and Blake can more than hold their own against Bradley/Lee/Terry/Barbossa.

    Or maybe I’m crazy—and don’t hold back if I’ve clearly lost my mind.

    Taking it a few steps further, CHA has been running with somewhat of a “small-ball” starting lineup, with three guards and Biyombo as the notional “5” (although guys like Haywood and Tyrus Thomas lurk on the bench). So maybe that game isn’t frightening, at least from a pure size standpoint.


  29. Re: roster decisions, the Pau injury has scuttled all trade possibilities this season. IMO best to shut him down for the season, get surgery and come back healthy next season. I think people like Clark because he hustles, is multi-faceted and doesn’t complain. it is so refreshing. that said, it will be very difficult to sign him unless moves are made. perhaps Pau can be traded into someone’s cap space that is left out of the FA sweepstakes (ATL, HOU, DAL). perhaps MWP can be moved with incentive attached (Hill?). in any event, it will be interesting. however, I don’t see anything happening at the trade deadline.


  30. If Mark Cuban is pulling back because of the impending taxes I doubt the Buss’s are going to disregard the financial realities of the new CBA. People who think money grows on trees simply haven’t been in the business of planting those trees.


  31. Whoever said that the Lakers will keep on shelling out 100 million in taxes alone is just way in above his head. Its easy to spend whatever isn’t your money.


  32. @ Scorchee—I fear I will be moderated, but let me start off by saying I am not going to speculate about a trade, or advocate a free agent signing. The summer is an eternity away right now.

    Full disclosure–I am not in the “let Dwight walk” camp–because we don’t know enough information about anything (health, attitude, etc) to offer a truly-informed opinion on that. It’s really easy to be disgusted with Dwight not playing right now (at least as an emotional fan) and to speculate about whether he will ever be “all that he’s cracked up to be” (legitimate concerns no doubt)—but it would be foolish to simply cut a guy who from an ability standpoint still seems to be top-5 or at least top-10. He may come back next week or the week after that, be rejuvenated and reborn, be motivated by a desire to silence his critics, and anchor a deep playoff run. We just don’t know. In short–knee jerk reactions aren’t going to help anyone and, for the most part, this franchise has avoided panic moves in the past. I hope management stays that course.

    That said–let’s play devil’s advocate and look into the future. Resigning Dwight will (probably) take max money. (The only caveat is if his physical problems really linger/worsen and a “damaged goods” suspicion really takes hold). Resigning Clark will likely take a small(relatively-speaking) fraction of that money. If you get to the end of the year, and it looks like (as many have feared) Dwight really isn’t going to be quite the force he was ever again because of his back (again, we don’t know the answer to this right now)—Do you pay Dwight max money for 18 and 10 and plus, but no longer otherworldly, defense? Or do you sign Clark for his attributes and upside, and take the other money and resign Hill, get yourself a defense-first center, and lure a young athletic wing on the come to create a more-rounded roster?

    The answer is–we don’t know. And you are right–it is all speculative arm-chair GM’ing until we know more facts. But to dismiss the very concept of letting Dwight walk at the end of the year, regardless of what facts play out between now and then, because of past performance isn’t healthy either.


  33. Lakers will make more money this year with the TW deal and the highest payroll ever. Of course they will cut down but will still have one if the highest payrolls. As will the Dodgers. That’s called good business. Spending the money to keep you on top.

    It’s Kobe’s $30 that bends the payroll. Do you suggest that is not well spent? It’s the Kobe’s that made thus a billion dollar franchise.


  34. “Full disclosure–I am not in the “let Dwight walk” camp–because we don’t know enough information about anything (health, attitude, etc) to offer a truly-informed opinion on that.”

    mindcrime, first, to answer your question from a previous thread, yes, Dwight can still worsen his shoulder injury. Simply recall that the labrum is partially torn from/off the bone. Think of that as a tear in your shirt or pants. So there are two stress points, with the same being the ends of the tear. Pau’s existing plantar fascitis was also the thing that predisposed him to the rupture of his plantar fascia (i.e., without the plantar fascitis, he would not have ruptured his plantar fascia).

    Now back to Dwight. Did you, or anyone else, see his interview with Steven Smith? Downright frightening. And I’m not talking about his attitude but instead his report that he still has numbness and tingling in his leg(s). I cannot believe that virtually none of the media has picked up on that yet. The entire purpose of having the discectomy is:

    A discectomy…is the surgical removal of herniated disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord.

    I don’t usually cite to Wikipedia for most things, owing to political, philosophical, what not bias, but a decent source for math, science, medical stuff. And the above is indeed the purpose of his surgery, to remove the disc material impinging on the nerve root exiting the spinal column. But yet, he has, by his own report, continuing numbness and tingling in his legs, which means that something there in his back is still impinging on a nerve root. And far from being a usually cited mainstream media source, the one source puts the matter entirely correctly:

    Dwight Howard says he’s STILL feeling numbness and tingling in his legs?! That’s what surgery was supposed to fix. Bad sign and investment.

    That numbness and tingling is not going to go away on its own. And least not in the short term that is his playing basketball days (i.e., may go away when he’s 70 as the disc shrinks over time owing to reduced blood flow, etc.). And here is the problem now, in technical terms:

    Radiculopathy refers to a set of conditions in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly (a neuropathy). The emphasis is on the nerve root (radix = “root”). This can result in pain (radicular pain), weakness, numbness, or difficulty controlling specific muscles.

    He’s got at least the numbness, by his own report, with some tingling as an add on. I literally almost choked when he said that he’ll sit on the bench and all of a sudden his legs will go numb (I was having a snack while watching the interview). And I cannot recall which spine/disc level he had the surgery on, so absent that information we can use this, if Dwight would tell Steve Smith in a follow up, just where in the leg the numbness and tingling is:

    Note the backside view, which has the levels marked, C1-C8 (cervical vertebra), T1-T12 (thoracic vertebra), L1-L5 (lumbar vertebra), and S1-S5 (sacral vertebra). And note that the lumber vertebra are those immediately above your rear end, as is S1. Now look at the front side view and see where in your legs a particular lumbar nerve does its thing, as it were, ditto S1 and S2. I cannot recall ever reading at which disc level the herniation was, so as a guess, I’m going with either L4-5 or L5-S1, with the latter being the more likely. And if he has, as he reports, the continuing numbness and tingling, prepare yourself for the worst, every time he falls squarely on his rear end, when his spinal column will be compressed, and so the disc gets squeezed. And for more technical stuff, think of the disc a jelly-filled doughnut, with the jelly being the nucleus pulposus, and so a true herniation is when the jelly is leaking out of the doughnut, as it were. The impingement is owing to the doughnut being deformed and compressing or impinging on the nerve on exit from the spinal canal. Here, some more handy diagrams, first, the spine and the exiting nerve root, and then the spinal column and the disc:

    And here’s a true herniation compressing or impinging on the exiting nerve root:

    But as I said, or think I said, you can have the impingement without a true herniation, so long as the disc is deformed and so compressing or impinging on the exiting nerve root. Going back to the one above depiction, would be a deformity in the annulus fibrosus, which they would call a disc bulge or protrusion (or bulging disc or protruding disc). And with that, one more handy diagram for you and the others:

    Lastly, now that Dwight has said that he has numbness and tingling, the team needs to think real hard about whether he should be re-signed, and I, for one, will cringe, every time he falls squarely on his rear end (thereby compressing his spine and associated discs). Perhaps this is why, Mitch recently said something about not trading Dwight, i.e., he’s trying to get some to up their offer for purposes of overcoming Mitch’s purported resistance to a trade. And so everyone gets the point, his torn labrum simply pales in comparison here, i.e., this fellow is suffering from numbness and tingling in his legs and he wants a max contract, after already having the one microdiscectomy.


  35. Oh, and here is interview with Steve Smith, part 1, which has the downright frightening:

    And from the Emory Healthcare website:

    Lumbar radiculopathy refers to disease involving the lumbar spinal nerve root. This can manifest as pain, numbness, or weakness of the buttock and leg. Sciatica is the term often used by lay people. Lumbar radiculopathy is typically caused by a compression of the spinal nerve root. This causes pain in the leg rather than in the lumbar spine, which is called “refered pain.”
    Lumbar radiculopathy symptoms may include pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, and reflex loss. Lumbar radiculopathy symptoms may present in the leg and foot.

    Note the tingling and numbness, which Dwight has, by his own report.

    And now from your neck of the woods, from the Chapman Spine and Orthopedic Institute in Orange County:

    What is Lumbar Radiculopathy?

    A radiculopathy is a condition where the nerve or nerves emanating from the spinal column are inflamed, pinched or somehow impaired due to a lack of blood flow. Lumbar radiculopathy is a condition of chronic pain which occurs in the lower back or legs due to damage in the lower spine. Compression of the nerves that emanate from the spine in the lumbar area can cause numbness, tingling and occasional shooting pains in the immediate area as well as down the leg and sometimes into the foot. A common cause of lumbar radiculopathy is spinal degeneration due to age or disease. Lumbar trauma, repetitive motion or other injuries can also cause radiculopathy and have lasting consequences.
    Diagnosis and Treatment

    Physical symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy vary by individual. Some experience leg numbness and tingling and others have dull aches or shooting pains down the legs. Sometimes severe pain is experienced in certain positions such as bending or twisting positions which put pressure on the nerve roots.

    Note the common there, the leg numbness and tingling, so Dwight has a radiculopathy, by his own report. And note the part about movement, i.e., the bending or twisting. In Dwight’s case one instance is, as he related, when he sits, i.e., when his spinal column and discs are compressed owing to sitting, since his spine, from the sacrum on up, now bears the weight, and not the feet and legs. On that note, from the American Academy of Neurology:

    Because sitting increases the intraspinal pressure, radiculopathies are classically much worse with sitting but improved with standing or walking.

    This is why, by the way, those long haul truck drivers often wind up with lower back problems, since they are not only sitting an ungodly amount of the time, but what with being on the road, there’s all that slight up and down motion owing to driving on the road (so the proverbial double whammy). And so, from another site:

    You are at higher risk for radiculopathy if you are sedentary and/or if you drive a lot; sitting compresses your discs which may cause herniation…

    Which is why, by the way, whenever Dwight has that numbness and tingling come on, when he’s sitting there on the bench, the first thing that he ought to do is stand up (to relieve the pressure in and on his discs)(or if there’s room, lie on his side, or in the supine position)(see the below piece, the material under the Patient testing position title or header).

    Lastly, Dwight, if you are here, you might want to read this:


  36. Slappy–Thanks–your viewpoint on injuries is always appreciated on my end and, that is truly food for thought.


  37. I have a bad feeling about this. We need more productivity out of Dwight, which I just don’t see happening with Dantoni’s offense. Plus the 100MM tax issue is a big elephant that the Lakers need to consider. Getting rid of Dwight is the only play here. I also hope Pau opts to let it heal on his own. 12 weeks is just too long.