Pau Gasol did not participate in the Lakers' practice today and will not play Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns. His strained right hamstring, which no one associated with the Lakers has ever described as serious, has now kept him out of game action for more than a month. The only information divulged by the team is that Pau is still experiencing pain in the hamstring and that there's no timetable for his return.
Out of curiosity and more than a little worry, I checked in tonight with sports-injury expert Will Carroll. Will, as many of you are no doubt aware, covers the injury scene for Basketball Prospectus and its sister publications and has written extensively in the past for both ESPN and Sports Illustrated. In the field of sports injuries his is the most authoritative media voice.
When I asked him for his take on the Gasol situation, Will was kind enough to share his thoughts:
It's not that unusual. He strained it, tried to come back too quickly, and re-started the process. If you think of it as two serial injuries, the timing makes more sense. Taken as one long process, it looks overlong. He needs to be more conservative this time, to make sure it stays at two.
Many of us suspected that Pau tried to return too soon, and Will's comments are unfortunate confirmation. And rest and taking it slowly are the answers here, so we shouldn't expect any quick fixes. He'll be back when he's back. The good news is that the prolonged wait probably isn't because it's an especially serious injury, but rather because he had to start his recovery all over again.