Marc Gasol made his return to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. It was his first game back on the court in nearly a month, missing the last nine games due to NBA health and safety protocols as well as needing to regain his conditioning before getting back on the floor.
After the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Gasol confirmed to the media that he and members of his family tested positive for COVID-19 and that he had a difficult time recovering. Gasol mentioned having a hard time with symptoms such as headaches and difficulty breathing, as well as still regaining his sense of smell and taste. Speaking to the media, Gasol called the illness “serious.”
On a more positive note the big man also maintained that his return went better than expected and he would be correct. Gasol only played 15 minutes as the team is easing him back into NBA shape but in that time, he showed everyone what the Lakers were missing in his absence. The center scored five points, grabbed two rebounds and dished out two assists. Especially in the first half, he served as the hub for a clicking Lakers offense and did a very admirable job protecting the rim, skillsets the Lakers desperately missed without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
It’s likely going to take some time for Gasol to get into shape, but the Lakers will feel a sigh of relief seeing him contribute as well as he did after a nasty bout with COVID-19. If Gasol can fully recover, it gives the team just that much more margin for error, with or without their superstars.