The reigning Defensive Player of the Year is out indefinitely with a Grade 2 sprain of his left MCL. Surgery is not required, the team announced Saturday.
The 7-1 Gasol suffered the injury in the second quarter of Friday night’s home loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He appeared to suffer the injury without contact while playing defense.
Gasol left the game and did not return. Under the supervision of team physician Dr. Fred Azar, he had an MRI on Saturday at the Campbell Clinic that revealed the sprain.
Gasol has been a fixture in the Grizzlies’ lineup, missing just four games since the start of the 2010-11 season. This season, he is second on the team in scoring (16.0 ppg), rebounding (7.1) and assists (4.3) while leading the Grizzlies in blocks (1.08).
In his absence, the Grizzlies likely will start Kosta Koufos, the only other true center on the roster. Koufos was acquired in an offseason trade that sent forward Darrell Arthur to Denver.
The Grizzlies were one of just a handful of teams carrying the minimum 13 players and have two available roster spots. Among the available free agent centers are Marcus Camby, Jason Collins, DeSagana Diop and Kwame Brown, who was waived this week by Philadelphia.