It could be some time before Toronto Raptors centre Marc Gasol returns to action.
After re-aggravating a hamstring injury on Jan. 28, Gasol has missed the Raptors' last eight games. Upon the team's return from All-Star break, head coach Nick Nurse spoke with reporters and provided an injury update along with a potential timeline to return for the team's defensive anchor.
According to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, Nurse said that "We're gonna wait a little bit with him and give him a little bit more time. The main thing for me right now is that he's fully, fully healed. We don't want to go backwards again with this thing."
As indicated by Gasol's injury timeline, hamstring issues are difficult to navigate.
He first suffered a strained hamstring on Dec. 18, sidelining him for 12 games before his return to action on Jan. 15. It was short-lived, however, as he re-aggravated the injury in his eighth game back.
With that in mind, the Raptors' cautious approach makes plenty of sense.
Nurse continued, adding that "the most important part is he gets some games in before the playoffs. We're just gonna sit tight for a little bit."
When asked about the ideal amount of games Gasol would play in before the playoffs, Nurse said between eight and 12 (per Sportsnet's Brad Fay). Nurse's ballpark estimate might be conjecture but with just 27 games remaining on the Raptors' regular season schedule, it could mean that Gasol is sidelined for another 15-20 games.
This season, Gasol is averaging 7.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists through 35 games. More importantly, the Raptors are 27-8 when the big man is in the lineup, serving as a reminder of how crucial he is to their aspirations to make another deep playoff run.
While Gasol continues to rehab his hamstring injury, the Raptors return to action Friday as they host the Phoenix Suns at 7:30 p.m. on TSN 4/5.
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