Notebook of the Raptors: Marc Gasol “completely healed” from a hamstring injury


The Raptors are out of quarantine and looking to establish routines as they mark the days before the restart of the 2019-2020 season which was suspended on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. They practiced the second day on campus in the so-called “Covid bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort outside of Orlando.

Some notes, quotes and anecdotes follow.

Home for now

When Terence Davis checked out what he hopes to be his accommodation for the next three months, there were already house touches in place.

He put his bags down, looked around and saw photos of his one-year-old son Hasaan and other photos of him and his family after a game where he played college at Ole Miss.

These are little touches but the kind of things that reflect planning and attention to detail on the part of the organization, and they matter when the team sets up for what could be a long stay.

“I noticed him walking into my room,” said the Raptors rookie during a conference call after the Raptors’ second day of training in Orlando. “They had pictures taken, one of me and my son, then one of all my family members during a university match. It meant a lot, man.

“It was like they really cared about them. Just by seeing the photos, it was heart-warming. Obviously, I miss my son every day, just without him, but one day he will understand what dad does for a living. ”

Davis said he spent the first short time in his room planning it for the long haul.

“I put my games up for sure, [I] I recently put my clothes in my drawers, I folded them up to go home. We will be here for a few months, so we are definitely going home. ”

He says he hasn’t really gone around to take advantage of the NBA’s amenities, which range from fishing trips to golf outings to poolside DJ sets.

“… I’m just trying to get my hands on things and how things are going,” said David. “Like breakfast is sometimes in my room and sometimes in the dining room. So I’m really starting to understand things right now. Maybe I’ll venture out but for now, it’s really a bargain.

Livestream the Raptors’ quest to defend their NBA title with some NBA playoff games on Sportsnet NOW.

Relax in things

During the regular season, practice time is a precious commodity because the teams must balance rest, travel and injuries. Although skill development and film screenings are constant, even one full workout per week during the season may seem like a luxury. Having nothing else to do but train – the Raptors have scheduled 13 games before meeting the Los Angeles Lakers on August 1 – the challenge for head coach Nick Nurse is to not overcook the things. Veterans like Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry will be considered, but Nurse says he plans to watch every member of his rotation who will likely bear the brunt once competition resumes.

“You work hard for a few days, then you can pull the guys off and start sprinkling around the board in a few days, and Marc is definitely a candidate for that. Obviously, I would even put Pascal, OG, Freddy, Kyle in this group, Serge too, which we will probably monitor again individually, but we will require almost a few days of rest there to let their bodies regroup for a whole day and recharge because we come back here early. ”

Nothing to see here

Gasol was scheduled to speak to the media for the first time since the hiatus on a teleconference on Sunday, but there was a late change in plans when he left the practice early. Given that Gasol missed 28 of the Raptors’ first 64 games with hamstring problems after playing 115 career games in 2018-19, totaling the NBA regular season, playoffs and leading Spain to the gold during the World Cup, the eyebrows were raised.

No need to be alarmed

“He practiced, as I said, much of the first track,” said the nurse. “… We started early enough today, and he just, they just decided to bring it back early instead of just sitting down for the next one, whatever. One of the things that comes and goes is that you have to relax a bit, and since he’s already finished, they just gave him a quick quick return. ”

And his hamstrings?

“As far as I know, he’s completely healed,” said the nurse. “And as you know, it looks great. His skills are also fantastic. He seems to be in good shape. I don’t see any problem. “

The Gasol diet an inspiration

Without saying a word in public, Gasol was one of the stars of the hiatus, generating a considerable buzz with his “skinny Gasol” look. His teammates remain impressed as the 35-year-old appears to be well below his 255-pound weight.

“I love it, he’s in playoff right now,” said Davis. “He will probably tell you that he himself has been in playoff mode since [last] April and it will continue to be in this mode. He looks really, really good, he moves very well. He looks like Prime Marc to me, so, I don’t know, man. It’s frightening. ”

It remains to be seen whether this could translate into a more impactful scoring role for the Spanish center. As a defenseman, passer and screenmaker as valuable as Gasol since joining the Raptors on the deadline before their championship race, he scored just 8.3 points per game with Toronto. Two seasons ago, he scored 17.2 per game for Memphis and had a career high of 19.5 points per game in 2016-2017.

“I would probably like to make him a main cog in the offensive, but the way things have been going on since he’s been here, and even this year, it seems, there are a lot of guys who can participate to this thing, “said the nurse. “I think there are probably baskets in him in the fourth quarter or in the stretch that we can probably find, and play a little bit through it too, because as I always say, whenever we can get him the balloon, good things happen, not necessarily buckets from him, but good things happen [so it would] probably good to see if we can increase its usage rate. Again, I’m working on it, I’m not sure it will happen, but it’s a thought in the foreground of what we (do). ”

The nurse – who says he would like to lose a few pounds himself – says that in talking to Gasol, it was the lockdown routine that was one of the first features of the pandemic that helped the cause of the great man and leaves little excuse for the rest of us.

“I didn’t ask him what his purpose was [for his weight loss]Said the nurse. “I imagine, just guessing that his goal is to get in shape, to play at his highest level, to continue to improve as a player.

“I asked him what the key was, what did you do, and he just said” Dude, it was consistency “, it was again with the situation we were all in during last four months, you take out the games and all the long road trips and late night flights, and all of the things that help make fitness and nutrition a little bit more difficult, take it all off and it has just said it was a consistent rhythm, eating at the same time every day, and eating very healthy of course, and all that. ”

Find a rhythm

With 22 teams sharing three levels of practice, planning is somewhat out of the team’s control, but you won’t find a nurse complaining. Teams are generally assigned to a three-hour block in the morning or afternoon during which they must prepare, prepare to work in a team and develop their individual skills.

That’s a lot, said the nurse.

“I think we’ve all lost the rhythm of our lives for four months, right, the ways we probably want them to fall into place,” he said. “You just have to be a little open-minded and adaptable and just take it.

“I mean that a three hour block of time is long enough that we can usually do our stretching and correcting work before practice, starting somewhere in the middle of this … block of time to do their main work and then you sort of cone out of it, get some shooting.

“You’ve seen us before, some of the younger guys … kind of put the second session to get those reps they need on the defensive and all that.

“We try to manage it a little individually, but also do a lot of group work. “


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