As Brian noted in his breakdown of Spain's Sunday victory over Lithuania, Pau landed awkwardly during the second quarter while contesting a Jonas Valanciunas jumper. The immediate discomfort was obvious, but given how Pau played 30 minutes, BK logically concluded the forward was fine. As is often the case with injuries, however, soreness can worsen once you get off your feet. Despite being classified as a "minor" injury, the player and his coach opted against any chances, particularly with a first place showing in Group A already iced.
"He is day to day," said Spain coach Sergio Scariolo of Gasol. "He's having treatment and the doctors will assess him before the second round begins."
I'm better. I had some pain in the ankle but I'll be ready to go on our next game on wednesday. Thanks for your support #Eurobasket2011
Gasol will rest two days before Wednesday's round two kickoff. Between the universally positive prognosis and Pau's well-documented cautiousness -- he took so long to return from a 2009 hammy injury, I suspected he was milking matters to promote a "CSI" appearance -- the odds favor a happy outcome. Still, it's natural to fear a minor injury aggravated into something worse. Moreover, Pau's situation is exactly why fans and franchises alike never rest easy while players compete for their homeland. Considering the high odds of Andrew Bynum getting hurt at some point next season, the Lakers need El Spaniard with as few nicks as possible come training camp.
I admire Gasol's loyalty to Spain, and sustaining his fine level of play throughout the tournament should bump his confidence after a brutal playoffs. But if there's any reason for cautiousness, it's mandatory to err on that side, even if a title defense lies in the balance. Bottom line, Pau may be one of Spain's favorite athletic sons, but his main gig is with the purple and gold.