Less than a week after undergoing a knee procedure, Pau Gasol formally announced that he won't represent Spain in EuroBasket 2013. The Los Angeles Lakers forward said on his website that his goal is to return to his NBA squad next season without the injury issues that plagued him this past year.
Gasol had a knee debridement procedure done on both knees on May 9. The procedure cleans out scar tissue in the knee without bothering healthy tissue, and it is expected to curb knee pain that kept Gasol from eight games during the 2012-13 season, where the power forward also dealt with plantar fascia pain. He is expected to receive stem-cell injections in both knees to promote the growth of healthy tissue.
The initial procedure is expected to keep Gasol from basketball-related activities for 12 weeks, putting his return in mid-August, according to the Los Angeles Times. That theoretically would have been soon enough for Gasol to participate in the Eurobasket tournament in Slovenia, which runs from Sept. 4-22, but it appears Gasol is electing to commit to the NBA this season and a World Cup in 2014 hosted by Spain.
Gasol had career lows with 13.7 points per game this season on 46.6 percent shooting.
He has one year and $19.3 million left on his contract, and considering the Lakers' potentially tight financial situation, has been considered a possible trade asset.