Gasol hopes to be back soon from sprained knee

CLAY BAILEY (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- With his left knee in a big brace and a long rehab ahead of him, Marc Gasol vowed to return to the Memphis Grizzlies lineup as soon as possible.

He's not used to sitting, having missed just five out of 244 possible games dating to the 2010-11 season.

''They try to give me a week - three, four, six,'' Gasol said when asked of the recovery time Monday night. ''I don't care what number they say, I told them as soon as I can put my foot down on the floor and I can walk, I'm going to rush it and speed the process.''

Gasol will be on crutches for three to four weeks before he can even start his work to return.

Gasol, the NBA's reigning defensive player of the year, spoke before the Grizzlies played the Houston Rockets, three days after he sprained his medial collateral ligament in a game against San Antonio.

He said that when he planted on his left foot he ''felt the pop,'' and knew something happened. There was no contact, and Gasol never went down before limping to the Memphis locker room. He said doctors were pretty sure it was an MCL sprain that night - a suspicion confirmed by an MRI on Saturday. He said that some of the tissue is ''partially torn.''

Two other Memphis players - forward Zach Randolph and swingman Quincy Pondexter - have had similar injuries in recent years. Gasol said he talked to both of them about the recovery.

Once he heard no surgery was required, Gasol was ready for the trainers to tape up he knee, put on a brace and let him return to the court. But medical personnel told him the MCL sprain was more serious than he was considering.

''They wouldn't listen to me,'' Gasol said.

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