The Memphis Grizzlies have to be exhaling a huge sigh of relief. When Marc Gasol broke his foot in February — ending his season and the Grizzlies’ chances of being a threat in the postseason — it was a very scary moment for this organization. Human beings the size of Gasol don’t tend to handle broken feet too well. It’s just too much physical pressure to put on the foot bones and having a clean comeback from that type of injury is tough.

However, good news is coming out of Memphis as we approach training camp and the 2016-17 season. According to Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal, Gasol has been cleared to play and has even been playing in pickup games with the Grizzlies’ roster in unofficial team activities. Memphis took a very cautious approach to his rehab this summer and his training has been closely monitored in Spain all summer.

Center Marc Gasol has been cleared to play after recovering from a broken right foot.

Gasol recently returned to Memphis for strength and conditioning. Gasol is also playing pickup games, according to sources with knowledge of his progress. The Griz took a cautious approach to Gasol’s rehabilitation and are upbeat about his return to form on the basketball court, according to the sources.

Gasol spent most of the offseason rehabbing in Spain with a regimen closely monitored by the Grizzlies. The entire Griz roster has worked out informally with Gasol since Labor Day.

Marc Gasol is in good health right now. USATSI

Gasol missing the Olympics for Spain was tough, but there was no way he or the Grizzlies would have ever let him risk his health in such an unofficial capacity so soon after a serious injury like that. With him back and at full strength, it allows the Grizzlies to reestablish themselves as a second tier team in the Western Conference this season. Everybody is going to have the Golden State Warriors at the top of the West heading into this season and for good reason. You can probably pencil in the San Antonio Spurs as the second best team, as well, but they’ll have some contenders in trying to claim that 2-seed for the postseason.

The Los Angeles Clippers return and at full strength they can be one of the best teams in the conference. The Utah Jazz are becoming everybody’s favorite for making a big leap after acquiring George Hill, Boris Diaw and Joe Jonhson this summer. But the Grizzlies have to be considered in that class, as well, when healthy. The Grizzlies seem to be often overlooked in the West and then end up having a better season than most expect. This year, they return with full health and have added Chandler Parsons to the small forward position as he fills a need for outside scoring they desperately need.

With the money they paid him and the $153 million deal to Mike Conley, they’ll have plenty of pressure to justify the money being thrown around by them this summer. But their defense is sound and new coach David Fizdale could inject a better offensive system to take advantage of Gasol, Conley, and Parsons being together. Whether they end up as one of the best teams or just find themselves in that 4-7 range in the West, most teams will likely want to avoid a healthy Grizzlies team in the playoffs.

Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Report: Marc Gasol has been cleared to play in Grizzlies’ training camp