Pau Gasol’s MRI Reveals Strained Groin

Darius Soriano —  February 1, 2014

Pau Gasol had a terrific January, averaging 20.8 points and 11.9 rebounds for the month. His February, however, isn’t starting out so hot. After dealing with a sore groin for the past week, Gasol had an MRI on the muscle and the news wasn’t good:

In the next week the Lakers have three road games — at Minnesota, Cleveland, and Philadelphia — and Gasol won’t play in any of them. Upon his re-evaluation, he may be cleared but based off the Lakers’ luck this year, that is no certainty.

Chris Kaman also had an MRI on a sore right knee, but his scan was negative and he has been cleared to play. Under normal circumstances that wouldn’t mean much (I’ve heard DNP-CD might be renamed “Kaman’d”), but with Pau out, the back up big man will likely be needed for at least spot minutes with Hill and Sacre also seeing increased minutes in the pivot.

Considering Pau had asserted himself as the team’s best and most steady contributor, this news just continues the team’s tailspin of late. Getting Nash and Blake back (both could play Tuesday) should help, but at this point the team’s place as one of the league’s poorest outfits likely won’t be altered much until their full roster is available for action.

With Pau out at least a week and Kobe sitting until after the all-star break, that won’t be for some time.

Darius Soriano

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32 responses to Pau Gasol’s MRI Reveals Strained Groin

  1. 60 losses here we come!!!

  2. For the price of Sacre we could have Bynam

  3. Ko, why? Its not like with paper knees bynum we are going to make the playoffs i had enough of that fool, the season is lost lets hope for the highest draft pick possible. At this point i dont care if they allow 150 points a game.

  4. Truth be told, considering how the season is going and for the fact that the only place that the team is headed is to the lottery, unfortunately, I would have to view this news as good news. Now let me be clear – because I don’t want anyone within the community to get this misconstrued – I am not rooting for us to lose and I am not happy with the predicament that we’re in, but due to the fact that we’ve been decimated by injuries, the losses just don’t bother me as much. I’m more acceptable to them. The same way in which I’m more acceptable to being in the lottery for the 1st time in years. Simply put, the more losses accumulated this season, the higher our percentage is of receiving the number 1 pick; which means that our rebuilding phase should be accelerated. Welcome to the world of the Los Angeles Lakers – 2014 Version.

  5. Fern
    My point was that most teams that are trying and wanting to win have been picking up or acquiring actual NBA players. Mitch/Jim have only gone into the D Leagues and made no attempt the bring in any NBA talent.

    Which says?

  6. Tra,

    It is a drag, but I think it is pretty clear at this point that the long-term interest of the franchise is better served by losing right now than it is by winning.

  7. Ko it says the FO obviously raised their hands and basically went ” well thats it” if not MDA would had been fired by now there is no way around it, we are like 9 games out of the last playoff spot so what would be the point of getting “actual” NBA talent, like whatever players are out there to sign would be an inmediate game changer. So what is the point? Really , if you still holding to the hope we are making the playoffs these 3 months are going to be long for you. The tank is here and while it wasnt intentional it came here on its own, i be surprised if the team win 10 more games the rest of the season and im being generous. I totally agree with rr comment.

  8. In a weird way, this season is working out well for the front office.

    I say that because prior to the season there were two predominant factions among the fan base: the “Let’s tank and hope for Wiggins” set, and those in the “The Lakers don’t tank — it’s beneath a franchise like this” crowd.

    Buss and Mitch clearly opted for the latter, at least as much as they could given the financial/draft situation. Pau was retained despite multiple opportunities to deal, money was spent to add role player guys like Kaman, Young and Farmar, and Kobe continued to work toward a comeback. Early in the year, that plan was working well enough — the team was around .500, they were fun enough to watch to hold people’s interest, and they even threw in some big, enjoyable wins (Clippers on opening night, Blake’s buzzer beater in Houston). No one expected a title, but they were competing and not doing anything to upset the fans who believed the Lakers were/are above the tanking route.

    Then the injuries set in — Nash’s corpse remains inanimate (anyone know where he could meet a zombie?); Kobe went down again; bye, bye Blake; forget about playing, Farmar; hell, even Xavier Henry was missed. Now Pau. When it rains it pours, and the lottery seems inevitable.

    When rr wrote, “it is pretty clear at this point that the long-term interest of the franchise is better served by losing right now than it is by winning” he was 100 percent correct. And given the injuries — aided by Kobe’s latest setback — the losses will continue to pile up, which will satiate the pro-tanking crowd.

    Still, the front office can look the season ticket holders (or anyone else) in the eye and claim they made an honest effort to compete with the talent that was available this season. People can nitpick this statement, but the rebuttal is, “They were .500 when everyone but Kobe was healthy.” That’s irrefutable.

    By not deliberately tanking — but still losing anyway — both camps are seemingly satisfied, relative to realistic expectations for this franchise at this time.

    Tra’s comment above — “the losses just don’t bother me as much” — probably sums up a lot of fans’ positions at this point. Count me among those who hope Kobe doesn’t play again this season, Pau takes his time resting the groin, and the Lakers’ lottery chances continue to improve.

    It’s a lost season, and praying to land an eighth seed to get swept by the Thunder shouldn’t be the objective anymore.

  9. MD’A strikes again. Runs Pau into the ground the way he did Kobe last year. Mike reeks of desperation and ineptitude. The Lakers will begin to get better the day his azz is fired.

  10. @Chris J… I agree 100%. The FO was shooting for one smart path to a destination, which was some moderate success that keeps us entertained while the team shoots for the FA method. They were forced to off-road it and I think we are clearly on a different road that was always a reasonable one to take. This one is to get cheap, high quality talent in the draft and then go after those same FA. I think the first path may have been, if it worked, more likely to get Kobe another ring, This path they switched to makes a Kobe #6 a little less likely but a future championship window may be a bit wider. That said, lets see if it works. Won’t know for a few seasons.

    @Kenny T… Ran Pau into the ground? Really? Did you bother to look at a page with Pau’s stats, before you wrote that? There are a number of Internet sites you could use for that sort of data and really, if you are trying to make the argument that MDA runs his players into the ground, you chose a poor hill to fight that fight on. Pau is averaging not-quite 32 minutes a game. Pau’s career average is over 35 a game. Tim Duncan is averaging 29 minutes a game and everyone knows the Spurs actively limit his minutes. We are into season 3 or four in which Duncan’s minutes have been particularly controlled, a quarter of his career, and he still carries a career 35 minutes a game average. Shall we look at history now? Kareem, in his 17th season was playing 33 minutes a game. In his 18th it was 31. This is Pau’s 13th year. In his 13th year, Kareem played 35 minutes a game. Okay, so Kareem was a freak of sorts. Lets look at other historical big men in their 13th season. Moses Malone, 34 minutes. David Robinson, 29 minutes. Hakeem, 36 minutes. Ewing, 32 minutes. The 13th was Bill Russell’s final season… 42 minutes a game. Oh, and Duncan in his 13th season, 31 minutes a game. I hope I’m not presuming too much in thinking issue is settled about Pau. He was not run into the ground. Care to consider that the same bias that led you to jump to the Pau conclusion maybe makes a similar play on your thoughts about MDA running Kobe into the ground?

  11. So we’re all in agreement!
    Losing is like winning, now.
    Anyone know how many games the worst team usually wins? 20? 25? 30?
    I’m so not used to thinking this way but it’s actually time to get excited about the lottery.
    Now I know how Clippers fans feel every summer!

  12. This is uncharted waters for us . I HATE losing like this the ” basketball gods” ( i hate that cliche) decided to bring the Lakers low. And im not defending MDA but he didnt ran Pau into the ground, Pau played more or less his career minutes and what choice did he had? Anyways when you are missing your top 6 players there is nothing you can do. The focus should be about who to draft lets talk about that. I feel like a Bobcat fan. Nice serving of humble pie this season

  13. Rusty Shackleford February 2, 2014 at 6:41 am

    BOLD PREDICTION!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE ROCKETS COME OUT OF THE WEST THIS YEAR AND I HAAAAAAATE IT.

  14. So let me see if I understand the above.

    Losing is winning.
    It’s been a brilliant plan by Jimmy to make us fans think we were winning by losing.
    Old guys get hurt a lot but we still signed one for half our payroll.
    None of this was MD and DD fault but part of master plan and he will return next year because he took the bullet for Jimmy.
    And finally the team stinks, TV rating are down 34% but all ticket and parking prices are the same.

    Ok I got it. Makes sense to me. Now I have to teach my 9 year old this losing is winning thing. “Son it ok to get a few Fs, we are setting up the school for next year! “

  15. Agree that the FO’s plan was always to compete. Injuries have now merged their goals with the’Tankers’. I was always prepared to turn the page and rebuild.

    Now that losses seem inevitable does anyone anticipate the FO selling any of our assets that have value? Or do they just let the season play out?

    I am particularly curious about Young, who has a player option and will definitely hit the open market. If we are going to lose him why not get something for him now? Given minutes he’s a 20 pt scorer – and his salary is nothing.

  16. Tanking: Where we are all in agreement is that getting a top pick now is probably better than winning a couple of extra games, as painful as that might be. Where we are not in agreement in how we got here, and other than getting a top pick, how we should move forward.
    Ko: Yes – this is all annoying. In business this is like declaring bankruptcy. That is the right move in business sometimes, but it is hardly a move to be celebrated, and it is questionable to think that the same group that drove you into bankruptcy, will get you out of it. In fact that almost never happens in business.
    Chris J: “this season is working out well for the front office. ” I don’t think our FO feels that way, however I know Houston’s FO feels that way.
    Matt: Your question is good, because other than “losing” we are not really doing moves in concert with tanking. Kobe’s extension was in complete contradiction with tanking. Moving forward, we should trade some of our resources for picks or younger players, thereby making ourselves worse in the short run, better in the long run. Pau, Hill, and Kaman and yes Young are all candidates. Of course who the next coach is and the system plays into this. Keeping Hill and Kaman would be odd given the recent history. Lets see what they do.

  17. I was definitely among the Anti-Tanking crowd up until every one of our top 5 players suffered extended injuries. We have a season where the following players have missed nearly 30 or more games:
    Kobe
    Nash
    Blake
    Farmar

    Xavier Henry has missed 17 games and now Pau is injured…. Just what exactly is the FO supposed to do? There is absolutely zero chance of making a playoff run, so why waste money and potentially cap space by picking up, as one poster likes to say, NBA players? It makes no sense to do so. If the current Laker squad offends your eyes and sensibilities that much, then just don’t watch. I watched darn near every game last year (and the previous years as well), but only about 10 or 15 games this year. This is mostly due to the birth of my first child, but I would be lying if I said that our record and level of play didn’t have a huge role.

    I would love to have Kobe back as soon as possible and watch entertaining basketball again, if not winning ball, but I would much rather the FO position the franchise in the best possible place for future success. If that means not making a trade that might win a few games this but cripple us over the next couple then so be it. You can call me a loser, or call me a tanker, but I like to call myself a pragmatist. Let’s fold this terrible hand that we’ve been dealt and move on to the next one which, unfortunately, means better luck in the off season. Namely free agency and the draft. :/

  18. When the Lakers made it to 10-9, I pointed out that they were as of that day shooting 41% as a team from the arc, 4th in the NBA, led by Jodie Meeks at 47%. Meeks is now down to 41% and the team is at .367, 12th in the NBA.

    Also, Nash’s numbers, when he went down, were below replacement level. What Kobe was asked to do–come off a long layoff and a massive injury at 35 and play out of position, was more or less impossible–but his return was hurting the perimeter D, and his O was dragged way down by shooting 19% on 3s and huge numbers of TOs. Nick Young has actually better than what Kobe gave the Lakers in the six games he played, and while Kobe would have obviously improved, the reality is that we don’t really know for sure how good he is anymore. And, of course, one reason that most observers thought that the Lakers would be bad is that Nash, Pau, and Kobe would have a lot of trouble producing and staying on the floor, as well as defending. Pau, I think, has actually played better than many people thought he would, but is still a pretty big minus on D.

    Henry, as I doubted and as others claimed, correctly, that he would do, helped the team some when he was playing. But he was very inconsistent, as players the caliber of which the Lakers have will be, and is basically the 9th man.

    So, the “injuries killed the Lakers and that was just more terrible luck” narrative comes down mostly to Blake and Farmar IMO. Blake’s injury is not really age-related per se, but he has missed some time each of the last three years now and turns 34 this month.

    WRT Farmar, it has been forgotten in the blizzard of bad news, but even some of us here were wary of Farmar returning too soon given the way the hamstrings are easily re-aggravated. Any fan-based criticism of the training staff is of course highly suspect, since most of us are not doctors. But we do know that the Lakers

    a) Let Alex McKechnie go and also made a couple of other changes in that area.
    b) Have had a lot of trouble with injuries the last couple of years

    I think it is an area that management needs to consider evaluating, although the training and medical staffs are great for all I know.

    Overall point: I think the injuries have hurt the team, but:

    a) Some of them were inherent to the team’s design.
    b) I don’t think the team would have made the playoffs even with good health.

  19. Matt-
    Nick Young is an exuberant and charismatic guy and he’s fun to watch, a bright spot this year and more than I can say for team in general at this point.
    However, despite his occasional heroics, he is current shooting 42% which is probably near his career average and which partly brought him here in the first place. This type of shooting guard may be a nice addition to some teams but as he is a ‘volume’ shooter it’s doubtful any contender would give up anything of value for him.
    His current salary, contract terms, and particularly, his status as a fan favorite make him the least likely to be moved prior to the deadline.
    Trading Young for a second-round pick at this juncture would scream ‘tank’ to most fans and therefore blatantly contradict what Kupchak has stated publicly: the Lakers are above that.
    Ironically, Mr. Young skill-set and demeanor align precisely with the team’s current agenda: entertain, but lose, with style.

  20. Darius, I have Kaman’d players before but not at the expense of winning games.

    Robert-We need a compilation of your greatest one-liners. Lately, you’ve been on fire!

    Ko-Good bench…all 11 of them. I actually did a spit take.

    Maybe this coach has a bonus in his contract based upon how many losses he can accumulate. Did anyone this side of the moon not know that Pau was going to be on the injured reserve list? The Lakers had no chance to win the last two games, yet Pau remained on the floor in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. All while a perfectly healthy K-man sits on the bench watching his cuticles grow.

    I am not conditioned to the Lakers losing game, however I am conditioned to this coach.

    If the Lakers are tanking for a draft pick, then I hope the Lakers are going to take that draft pick and a few of the Lakers current assets to move up to get Embiid! I’m not impressed by Wiggins simply because he doesn’t have enough ‘winning’ fire in his belly, he appears passive and disinterested too often, and that’s my opinion. I haven’t seen much of Exum, so I can’t comment!

    Rusty-Sorry I just don’t see Houston getting past Oklahoma, especially if Westbrook can return and provide them with 25-30 minutes a game. Even without Westbrook they have no one on that team to defend Durant.

  21. Two things I can almost guarantee.

    Young will not be moved.
    Kobe will come back thus year.

    Why?

    TW contract has penalties for rating below certain numbers. Lakers are 34% down in viewership this year. No way Jimmy will eat that money they would need to return to TW.

    Nick and Kobe is all they have to raise ratings after all-star game.

  22. C.Hearn – I agree. As long as this coach goes, next year can be better than this… If MDA stays, I’m certainly not staying up until 3 or 4am to watch a Lakers game…

  23. Ko – I can see the logic behind such a clause for TWC. The subscriber base pays for most of the Laker commitment and advertising gives them their profit. Can’t sell advertising at a premium if the Lakers are horrible.

    If true, the Lakers are in a dilemma. The only way to get better is by losing, however, if they lose too much they will be unwatchable and have to give back much of their TV money.

  24. KO – I think that’s the reason they kept Kobe and paid him so we’ll. a happy Kobe will produce on the court even if the team is not. The fall back plan for management is if the team needs two more drafts beyond this one then they will at least have Kobe chasing records and putting butts in the seats.

  25. Ko, your analogy about having your son get Fs in school is flawed. The NBA incentivises losing in certain circumstances. I don’t just mean for the draft. Look at the Heat, the Spurs and other top level teams. Many of them hold out player that “would have played if this were May” because the schedule incentivises the team holding them back. When a kid prepares for the SATs, part of that preparation is for them to assess what questions they have a quick answer for and to just drop questions that will take them too long to figure out. In war, a good general can call an organized retreat, losing that battle in order to be better positioned to win a battle (and hopefully the war) later.

    The most critical need for the Lakers is young, cheap talent. The top of the draft is consistently the best place to find that. I think you’ll be very happy if in 2-3 years you realize your son is going to be watching another Lakers great leave his mark on the team you both love. He won’t be coming in late in a great career, like he did with Kobe. He will get to watch the hype machine build steam, the yearly growth in his game, the unexpected move that becomes a trademark, the question going from “can he do it” to “when will he do it again”.

    C. Hearn- I love Wiggins. He seems to be one of those guys whose skills are clear, and athleticism is off the charts, but whose game is much better suited to the NBA than college. I don’t see any reason he doesn’t improve his jumper and find more aggression attacking the rim. Also, the tourney tends to reveal a lot about players. If I remember right, Wade really made his game felt in the tournament, as did Rose. I just have a hard time thinking that kind of skill, body control and size is something to pass up. If the Lakers do luck out and can somehow get Embiid, the team better get rid of MDA within seconds of acquiring him. The kid already seems to like to shoot 3s, I’d hate to see him turned into a stretch-5.

  26. Terri

    I am not privy to the extent of the clauses only that pay back is based on making the playoffs and reduced ratings. Information came from John Ireland host on 710 radio and Laker radio voice.

    Time Warner lost 600,000 subscribers nationwide since their blocking fight with CBS last year and may indeed have a bearing on the total charges.

    You are right that advertising rates are way down on Laker games based on a friend who works in advertising for TW. TW is currently trying to sell but revenue decrease has caused two deals to fall apart over the past 3-months. It’s all interesting to me as a business owner.

  27. Interesting stuff, Ko, and not an area that I think about much, as I am not a businessman. I will say, though, that although Nick Young is entertaining some nights, I don’t see him as a guy who would really have any affect on TV viewership. That is the province of superstars. So, yeah, I think Kobe will play again this year.

    And, I agree with JC. I don’t think Young has much trade value, and I also do not think that there will be that much of a market for him in the off-season.

  28. The bankruptcy comparison was a good one.

    No fan wants their team to lose, but sometimes you have to take the long view. Spurs fans were undoubtedly put off by the season in which Robinson was out most of the year and they fell from playoff team to lottery dweller. But those losses put them in position to land Tim Duncan. With some luck the Lakers may land a franchise affecting talent in this year’s draft, as well.

    Sans so many key players for so many games, missing the playoffs is inevitable.

    The “getting Fs” analogy is a logical fallacy. You don’t get a better chance to succeed in fifth grade by failing fourth grade. But in the NBA, you do get a greater chance to improve by being bad the prior season by way of a higher draft pick. If sucking this year — when they’re going to suck anyway, given the talent on the floor — means the difference between a top five pick or drafting 13th, with this year’s draft I’d prefer to land the higher pick. Then hopefully the decline phase is over and the next upswing can get under way.

  29. I like Wiggins’ game as well, I’m speaking to his propensity to disappear during key moments in the game. Either he’s reading his own press or he’s just not that engaged during games. Neither of those two components converts into franchise players. Yes, Dwayne Wade blew up during conference games, but if you watched him during those college games you knew that he was going to be a special NBA player. Wiggins has all of the requisite elements to be a force in the NBA, so it’ll be interesting to see how he and this year’s class pans out in comparison to past renown draft classes. At any rate, I’ll be watching conference play to see which player steps up and shows their winning mentality and worthiness as the no. 1 draft pick.

  30. I hate the Seahawks, therefore I will be the first to comment on the rumored Pau to Phoenix for Okafor, with the Lakers possibly biting if Phoenix adds a sweetener such as one of there four first round picks. A great deal for team tank if we can get a pick. Pau could help Phoenix and would likely benefit from the geriatric specialists on the Suns training staff. Asset building time!

  31. Can we give Nash back to the Suns if this deal goes down?

  32. I’d trade Nash for a McDouble and some fries.

    I hated that deal the day it was announced, and hate it even more today. You just don’t give up first round picks for a guy that age, let alone toss tons of money his way for a multiyear contract.

    I don’t deride the front office as much as some do here, but that move was a gaffe from the outset.

    Even if he was playing, Nash is a liability that would be picked apart by the younger, faster guards in today’s league — Lilliard, Westbrook, Parker, Paul, etc.