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NBA Injury Analysis: Gasol Sidelined?

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Marc Gasol
The Grizzlies have shut down Gasol indefinitely after the Spaniard aggravated a torn abdominal muscle. Abdominal muscles are exceptionally painful and negatively affect an individual in multiple ways by limiting trunk rotation. As we are already seeing, strains to the area can easily be aggravated and often take a substantial amount of time to heal.

The good news is the tear is not a complete tear and surgery is not currently being discussed. Unfortunately the team is still unable to provide a realistic timeline on how long Gasol will remain sidelined. Location on the injury is key but looking at how long other NBA big men were shelved with abdominal strains suggests it could be awhile. Chris Bosh missed nine games during last year's postseason with a lower abdominal strain and Kevin Garnett also missed nine games with an abdominal strain his first season in Boston. If the injury were close to the pelvic and groin region, Gasol would be at risk for a sports hernia, similar to the one that prematurely ended the lockout-shortened season for Golden State's David Lee. Keep a close eye for more details regarding the specifics of the injury but I'm expecting the Grizzlies to play it extremely conservative with their All-star center.

Rudy Gay
The Raptors are considering shutting down Gay after the forward missed his third game in March with back pain. Back injuries can be tricky to manage as the associated symptoms can be linked to numerous injuries. Treating the symptoms, like pain and spasms, is important for the immediate comfort of the athlete but discovering the root of the problem is better for their long-term status. With the Raptors out of the playoff hunt and heavily invested in the recently acquired Gay, shutting the forward down would allow the Toronto medical personal to discover the exact cause of his lingering soreness and give them ample time to determine the best course of treatment. Fantasy owners should begin making backup plans for the remainder of the season as it becomes more and more likely Gay will no longer be productive this year.

Joakim Noah
The energetic center remains sidelined by a nagging case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The inflamed connective tissue first flared up in February, costing Noah three games. It has since become too painful to play through and the Bulls have been without Noah for their last two outings.

Plantar fasciitis is an extremely problematic condition, particularly for big men. The supportive arch of the foot helps stabilize the foot while running and jumping and helps bear weight. However when performing these activities the fascia is tightly stretched over and over again and, in a game like basketball, these motions are constantly repeated leaving the area vulnerable to injury.

It is highly unlikely Noah is dealing with a new condition of plantar fasciitis, but instead the associated symptoms have become too troublesome to ignore. Noah attempted to play through pain in his left foot during the 2009-2010 season and ended up missing 18 total games. He's learned his lessons and is attempting to receive treatment to prevent the condition from worsening. Unfortunately extended rest is going to be the only thing that helps Noah at this point of the season. He remains day-to-day and has a five-day break before Chicago faces off against a red hot Miami team Wednesday. He's a gamble in weekly leagues this week but could ended up being helpful in daily leagues. Keep in mind the injury will likely limit his productivity and will remain an issue through the end of the season.

Dwyane Wade
The Heat didn't miss Wade in route to their 26th straight win but that doesn't mean fantasy owners didn't lament his absence. Wade was in a suit and tie Sunday to rest a sore right knee. The injury is being called a bruise but given Wade's injury-riddle past it's worth further discussion. The good news is the knee in question is not the one that has historically given him problems. His left knee has been the more problematic joint and was the one that Wade had to have drained during last season's championship run. It's also the knee that required a debridement procedure prior to the start of the 07-08 season. While the now painful right knee has previously been listed as sore, it appears to be relatively unscathed. Don't anticipate Wade sitting long especially with the winning streak building and the team headed out on the road for four of their next five games.

Fast Breaks

Arron Afflalo: Afflalo will sit for the remainder of the season with a right hamstring strain. The injury should not carry over into next year and will open the door for Moe Harkless to see more offensive responsibilities.

Tyson Chandler: A bulging disc in his cervical spine is the reason for Chandler's recent string of missed games and not the minor knee issue that had previously been discussed. Chandler has missed six straight games and remains questionable for New York's Tuesday trip to Boston.

Stephen Curry: Another day, another ankle sprain for Curry. He once again sprained his surgically repaired right ankle and his status for Monday against the Lakers remains in doubt. Curry has actually been quite resilient and the number of games he has missed due to the ankle is impressive when you consider just how many times he's rolled or sprained it. He could miss a game or two but he should be back relatively soon.

Kevin Garnett: It sounds like the Celtics are preparing to be without KG for a handful of games as the forward recovers from a sprained left ankle. He's all but been ruled out for Tuesday's game so teams in weekly leagues should adjust accordingly.

Antawn Jamison: Jamison will continue to play despite a right wrist sprain. The ligament is partially torn but the Lakers expect he will play through the injury. Jamison's shooting has improved to 47 percent from the field after he shot a career-worst 40 percent last season. However I'd expect the recent injury to effect those numbers and don't be surprised to see his percentages drop.

Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.