The EuroBasket is a big deal for the Spaniards– over the past eight tournaments, they’ve won it twice, and haven’t finished lower than fourth. Success at EuroBasket is so important that one of their star players, Pau Gasol, reportedly played with an unspecified injury, against doctor’s orders, in their game against Poland Saturday. Here’s more from Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net:
As Spanish coach Sergio Scariolo revealed in the press conference: “The doctors told me that Pau couldn’t play more than five minutes straight. But after the first five minutes, when I asked him to come to bench he told me now [sic]. “I will take the risk,” he answered me and he had an amazing game.”
That would be an understatement. Gasol, who leads the tournament in scoring, finished with 30 points and seven rebounds, which included six three-pointers (on 6-for-7 shooting from downtown) to give Spain an 80-66 win over Poland. Next, they’ll play powerhouse Greece in a quarterfinals matchup Tuesday.
Considering that type of dominant performance, Gasol’s injury doesn’t appear to be too serious, but the risk-reward factor for NBA franchises who allow their players to compete in international basketball during the offseason should be enough to make Bulls fans nervous about their 35-year-old star making ill-advised health decisions less than a month before the start of training camp.