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Marc Gasol didn't wait long to start reshaping his body

Marc Gasol spent the NBA's COVID-19 hiatus devising a plan to stay healthy for when the season returned

It wasn't long into the NBA's COVID-19 shutdown that Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol got to work reshaping his body.

The first three-quarters of 2019-20 season had been the worst of Gasol's career from a health standpoint. He battled a nagging hamstring injury for most of the year and rarely seemed to be fully healthy for Toronto.

"It was a frustrating season for me personally because I could never get into a rhythm and help the team the way I should be helping the team," Gasol said.

After nearly a year of non-stop basketball, first helping to lead the Raptors to a NBA championship and then leading Spain to a FIBA World Cup championship, Gasol's body needed some rest.

"Those are two very taxing efforts right," Gasol said. "If you only take money out of the bank and never put money in the bank and you're gonna go broke."

So when the opportunity arose to rest, rehabilitate, and reshape his body, Gasol took full advantage.

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"As soon as... we got informed the facility was closing down, I got together with my team on a phone call and got going on a plan to resolve these ongoing issues," he said.

Though he wouldn't say exactly how much weight he lost or turned into muscle, the difference in his body has been clear to his teammates.

"He looks great, moving well, moving fast, he's handling the ball. Just the change that he's made is super drastic," Patrick McCaw said. "It's just going to add another dynamic to our team."

Gasol's ability to stay healthy when the season returns is going to be a big factor in Toronto's chances to repeat as champions. His post presence on the defensive end is second to none on the team and his passing ability is as good as it gets on the offensive side.

"Any time we can get him the ball, good things happen," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said on Sunday.

Now it just comes down to finding that rhythm and keeping it going as Gasol and the Raptors look toward the season's return and eventually the playoffs.

"Everything in the NBA and professional sport, I think, has a lot to do with rhythm and timing," Gasol said.