Chicago Bulls star Pau Gasol suffered a strained hamstring against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, and is now a doubt to play in Game 4 on Sunday.
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Gasol played just 22 minutes and scored six points in the Bulls’ 99-96 win, and revealed that he had initially picked up the problem in Game 2 and felt it tighten up again.
As a result, it remains unlikely that he will be able to recover in time for the next encounter with the Cavs, with Chicago leading the series 2-1 and hoping to protect home court with another win on Sunday.
“[The hamstring is] sore. It tightened up already in Game 2,” he said, according to ESPN.
“Today, it started off well, but a couple minutes into the game, it started tightening up again. I just tried to play through it as much as I could, but in the second half, third quarter it got worse, so I couldn’t sprint. I definitely couldn’t sprint. We got to a point where I couldn’t really run well, either. So just had to get out of the game, and we’ll evaluate it tomorrow.”
The Spanish star will continue to receive treatment over the weekend in order to try and get him fit enough to feature, but coach Tom Thibodeau will not want to take too many chances with him at the risk of worsening the strain and leading to a bigger issue.
Gasol has been a huge piece for the team this season and continues to bring experience to this roster, and so his absence will be a blow for the Bulls as they hope to take a commanding lead in the series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The former Los Angeles Lakers conceded that hamstrings are no joke as he has suffered with tears in the past, and so he will be fully evaluated before a decision is made on whether or not he is able to play.
Meanwhile, point guard Derrick Rose stole the headlines on Friday night as his buzzer-beating three sealed the win and led to sensational scenes at the United Center with the Bulls hoping to build momentum in the series.