How Pau Gasol's Knee Injury Impacts the Los Angeles Lakers

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How Pau Gasol's Knee Injury Impacts the Los Angeles Lakers
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Playing through injury has hurt Gasol and his team's production.

Even though Pau Gasol claims his knee tendinitis is not a big deal, the injury causes a massive ripple effect through the team and even the league. 

News came out on November 26 that the Lakers forward has been playing through tendinitis in both knees (per ESPN.com) and that has affected his overall performance. 

This comes at a very unfortunate time, considering Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard are all suffering from injuries as well. 

That would be all the superstars in one single team nursing injuries at the beginning of the season. Combine that with a 7-7 start to the season and not much in Hollywood is looking too rosy at the moment. 

Of course, it's only 14 games, and when the stars do finally get healthy, the Lakers will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs (assuming they make it). 

But there are immediate repercussions to the Gasol injury.

 

Lingering Effects Can Affect Playoff Picture 

Fans that have been wondering about Gasol's production now have their answer. 

Lakers fans are so used to their team making the playoffs, but if this team isn't careful, it will be in deep trouble. 

Let's pencil in the Spurs, Thunder, Nuggets, Grizzlies and Clippers into playoff spots. That leaves the Lakers, Jazz, Timberwolves, Warriors and Mavericks all battling it out for three spots. 

Harry How/Getty Images
More Jamison is not good for the Lakers.

All of the above teams are also battling injuries. The Lakers are still the Lakers and have Kobe, but if Nash stays out and Dwight doesn't get better, this team could struggle. 

Even if the Lakers do make the playoffs, they'll most likely play either the Thunder or Grizzlies instead of the Nuggets, with whom they present matchup problems. 

This Gasol injury has the potential to affect the Lakers' playoffs and finals chances.

 

Exposes Weak Bench 

The Gasol injury most likely means that there will be more minutes doled out to bench players like Jordan Hill, Antawn Jamison and even Robert Sacre

Not any of what was just written is good news for the Lakers. 

Jordan Hill isn't nearly the same passer and scorer Gasol is. Jamison is one of the worst defenders in the league. Robert Sacre is one of the best cheerleaders in the NBA, so there's that. 

Throw that in with Dwight's slow recovery from back surgery and the Lakers may be in trouble if their starting bigs aren't at 100 percent. Another issue is whether they will be able to play more than 30 minutes a game. 

 

Untradeable 

The ripple effects of this injury throughout the league could prove to be enormous. 

Gasol has been floating around trade rumors and, even though it may all be hot air, there is no way teams want an injured player now. 

The chances of the Lakers flipping Gasol for someone like Josh Smith—however unlikely they were before—have now gone down the drain. 

However, this may prove the best decision long-term for the Lakers. Gasol is one of the most talented big men in the league and should mesh extremely well with Dwight and Steve Nash sooner rather than later.

If the Lakers had flipped Gasol for a bunch of shooters to fit Mike D'Antoni's system or a Josh Smith, they wouldn't get enough talent in return for the star forward. 

If Gasol can fully heal, this will be a good thing for the Lakers. 

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