Marc Gasol Injury: Memphis Grizzlies Center Should Sit Until Playoffs

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIApril 17, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02:  Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies attacks the basket against Jason Collins #34 and Tracy McGrady #1 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Marc Gasol's injury in the Memphis Grizzlies' loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday surely caused Grizzlies fans' hearts to jump. Then again, they likely realized, it's not the end of the world. The Grizzlies have an easy remaining regular-season schedule, and they won't drop in the standings without Gasol now.

According to The Commercial Appeal, MRI results found that Gasol suffered a bone bruise in his right knee when he collided with former teammate Xavier Henry on Sunday.

To be sure, that's not an Eric Gordon bone bruise.

Besides, Gasol tweeted on Monday, "It's all good. Ill be back as soon as possible."

Still, Gasol will likely miss Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He's listed as day-to-day, but since bone bruises are sometimes a bit more serious than they sound it could take a little longer.

That's fine. Gasol can take as much time to rest his knee back to normal condition. The Grizzlies are just about set in the No. 5 spot. They're two games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 4 spot, but would have to win three more games in the last six than the Clippers since the Clippers own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets are both two games behind the Grizzlies, but both would have to do significantly better than the Grizzlies to close out the season to take the No. 5 spot. That's because the Grizzlies hold the head-to-head tiebreaker on both teams.

Doing so might require the Mavericks and Nuggets to run the table the rest of the way.

That would be difficult with the Grizzlies' easy finish. They have four of their last six games at home and five of their last six against losing teams. Even without Gasol, the Grizzlies won't have much trouble against teams like the T'Wolves, Charlotte Bobcats and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Dante Cunningham, who's the likely replacement for Gasol, would be just fine in his place. Starting in place of Gasol the last time they played Minnesota, Cunningham had 13 points and 14 rebounds in 40 minutes.

Cunningham is a solid defender who's athletic and can grab rebounds. He won't make noise on offense, but the Grizzlies have other players who can fill in for Gasol's scoring.

It isn't urgent that Gasol return to the court. If it takes him the rest of the season to rest up, then that's acceptable.What's most important is that he's healthy heading into the playoffs.