Although the sudden hiatus from the 2019-20 NBA season was hardly ideal for the players, it has given veterans like Pau Gasol some extra time to get their health in order.
Gasol missed out on a deep 2019 NBA playoff run with the Milwaukee Bucks due to a foot injury that ended his season. Although Gasol signed with the Portland Trail Blazers heading into this season, the lingering nature of his injury ultimately spurred the team to waive him before he could make his debut.
The untimely break from basketball has left many players in a state of limbo between staying in shape and switching gears to offseason mode. Meanwhile, Gasol is just hoping to use this time to make a full recovery.
According to Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times, Gasol is optimistic he will be able to compete in the NBA or the 2021 Olympics once he is 100 percent healthy:
“Obviously if I want to play in the Olympics in 2021, I would have to play competitive basketball at a high level to be ready,” Gasol said. “But first, again, go back to priority No. 1 is get healthy and see that the foot and the bone is completely healed and can sustain.
Gasol acknowledged the challenges that come with trying to stay healthy at this stage of his career:
“Trying to play when I turn 40 years old and after all the miles that I have accumulated, regardless of how much my heart and my mind want to continue to play, my body also has to cooperate at the same page. Again a lot of variables right now.”
Gasol’s comments indicate that it has been a difficult road to recovery at this point in his career. Fortunately, the prospect of a return to competitive basketball not being too far-fetched has seemingly served as a motivating factor for him.
Of course, playing in the NBA again may prove to be a tall task if Gasol is unable to show that he is no longer being held back by the foot injury. It is safe to assume that there will not be many teams in the market for a 40-year-old center, no matter how impressive his resume is.
Fortunately, the chance of competing for his native Spain is certainly something that can still come to fruition. His pull as one of the most decorated players in his country’s history could provide him with an ideal opportunity to showcase his skill set once the 2021 Olympics roll around.