Published On: Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

Marc Gasol 'was a couple of weeks away' from playing in Rio

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Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll never know how much better the Spanish men’s basketball team – which defeated Australia to capture a bronze medal – could have fared during the 2016 Olympics with Marc Gasol in the lineup.

Timing is everything, and had the games been later in the summer, the two-time NBA All-Star, who missed the tournament while recovering from a broken right foot, believes he would have been healthy enough to compete.

“I was a couple of weeks away,” Gasol told Spanish newspaper L’Esportiu, as translated by HoopsHype’s Jorge Sierra.

“A deserved medal,” Gasol added of his country’s bronze in Rio. “They suffered. They felt they could have beaten the U.S. It was not a splendid game. I don’t know how big of a shot they had, but it’s true that you could see they could have beaten them.”

Gasol missed the Memphis Grizzlies‘ final 30 games of the 2015-16 regular season, after undergoing surgery to repair a non-displaced Type II fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot. He averaged 16.6 points on 46.4 percent shooting, along with seven rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks prior to his injury.

All signs point toward the 7-footer being good to go for training camp – a positive sign for a team that went 12-18 without him in the lineup.

“I’m really well and looking forward to starting (the season),” he said. “I miss the competition, playing and enjoying basketball. All indications are that the foot is fine. I’ve practiced with the (Girona basketball club) juniors all I could, especially half-court sets.”

Memphis was swept in the opening round of the postseason by the San Antonio Spurs, although a majority of Memphis’ key players – including Gasol – were sidelined with injury. The club’s overall record of 42-40 also ended a streak of three-straight seasons with at least 50 victories.

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