In the latest injury setback for the Lakers, an MRI on Thursday revealed that Pau Gasol is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot after the forward was examined by foot specialist Dr. Kenneth Jung.
However, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Gasol would still start in Friday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.
This is another in a string of injuries, both for the team and for Gasol, who missed two weeks due to tendinitis in both knees earlier in December. The Lakers are still without backup point guard Steve Blake, and starting point guard Steve Nash only returned to the floor on Saturday, Dec. 22.
The Lakers are winners of five of their last six games, but D’Antoni and company are under immense pressure to start playing better and winning games now. If the Lakers are unable to sustain an improved level of basketball, Gasol is the most likely trading piece due to his large salary and his value to several NBA teams.
It is unclear how this recent injury setback would impact Gasol’s trade value. Regardless of the actual impact it may have on the 7-footer’s basketball game, it cannot help the 32 year-old’s value in the open market.
Gasol has been struggling to find his place in coach D’Antoni’s offense, and the Spaniard even found himself shooting 3-pointers last game. He made two of three from behind the arc against the Denver Nuggets. Gasol also attempted three 3-pointers against the New York Knicks, as he tries to fit into an offense clearly not designed for a player with his skillset playing at power forward.