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Pau Gasol likely to return to Lakers lineup next week

Dec 16, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

It’s easy to say that the Lakers should be winning more basketball games than they have been, simply because of the presence of Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the floor together in the same lineup.

But it’s not that simple, especially when the rest of the supporting cast has been, from a talent standpoint, far below the level that was advertised as L.A. reloaded with Hall-of-Fame level talent in the offseason.

Steve Nash has played just two games, and is working his way back from a non-displaced leg fracture which has kept him out essentially the entire season. Backup point guard Steve Blake has been similarly sidelined with an abdominal injury, and he’s expected to be out even longer than Nash, likely another six-to-eight weeks.

And then there’s Pau Gasol, the much-maligned big man with all the talent in the world, should the Lakers find a way to use his skill set correctly in the team’s schemes on both ends of the floor.

Gasol has missed the last seven games due to tendinitis in his knees, the thinking being it’s better to rest him now and get him right rather than running him into the ground when the team is still missing other players who are vital to its success.

L.A. has won just two of those contests, but help is on the way. Gasol is making progress, and might be back on the floor as soon as Tuesday, but it’s looking like no later than Saturday.

From Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:

Good news for the Lakers: Pau Gasol got back on the court today for the first time in two weeks and successfully went through 90 minutes of running, shooting and other individual basketball drills.

He told me yesterday that he had graduated to basically no pain from the tendinitis in his knees during three days on the treadmill. Now he didn’t have any problems advancing to on-court work today.

The next step will be seeing how his knees feel tomorrow after the stress of today. If things go well, Gasol could be back for the Lakers’ home game against Charlotte on Tuesday — with the next game after that not till Saturday at Golden State.

Gasol doesn’t want to fully commit to a firm date for his return, though when asked about the likelihood of being back for that Saturday game against the Warriors, he said “That’s probable.”

So there is hope on the horizon for the Lakers. Gasol is likely to return this week, and Nash isn’t too far behind — in fact, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see him make it back for that same game in the Bay area next Saturday night.

  1. omniusprime - Dec 16, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Best news in a couple of weeks as Pau Gasol seems to be healing his knees up nicely. Definitely need to get his knees healed before burning him out before the playoffs. It will be much better to have our two Twin Towers operating together again. Hopefully Jordan Hill heals up quickly as well as we need his energy coming off the bench. Steve Flake can stay injured as he is the weakest link at point guard, a total failure so far his whole stay with LA. Ancient Nash will be good to get back for offense but his total lack of defense will likely undo any good he does. The longer he takes to get back the more playing time the young point guards get and that’s good for the playoffs.

    What is happening with the Delonte West rumor? Can we be so lucky as to trade away Steve Flake for Delonte West? Maybe throw in another bench player? The Lakers need help at the point guard position for defense, sure can’t expect Ancient Nash to play any defense once he’s back.

    Go Lakers!!! Come Back Soon Pau!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil!!!

  2. MyTeamsAllStink - Dec 16, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Hope he’s wearing his big boy pants

  3. zblott - Dec 16, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    The Lakers’ fortunes have risen and fallen almost perfectly with Pau Gasol for years, but the problem is he hasn’t been good this year. He’s been good enough that they’re 2-5 without him, but he’s not playing like he used to, so neither are the Lakers.

  4. fruitcovejag - Dec 16, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    He can’t play well if he doesn’t touch the ball. Or when he gets the ball he is 12-15 foot away from the basket with a clogged lane in front of him (D12). Sarcasm: Don’t look for your shot in that scenario Pau, get it to Howard so he can get fouled and go to the line. Go back and watch those finals series. Pau was clutch and essential in those wins! Forget about that? Has Dwight ever been clutch? Can Pau and Dwight coexist? Both like to be around the basket and their offensive skill set is not even close! Share the paint Dwight and give Pau a chance to succeed!

    • nlruizjr - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:01 AM

      Have not been impressed with DH (offensively or defensively) thus far this year, so what harm could it do to move Gasol back at center and DH at PF and see how that works out, maybe it could turn out to be a thriving position for DH?

  5. timb12 - Dec 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Nash needs to hurry back. There needs to be more clips of him on the Lakers than that one of him getting ripped against the Mavs.

  6. hoodheisman - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    The Laker players need to find a way to coach themselves. D’Antoni has proven beyond any doubt that he is completely incapable of coaching a pro basketball team. That’s where Nash comes in. He’ll essentially call all the plays as a pg allowing D’Antoni to become 100% irrelevant. Defensively, they just need to put on their big boy pants and hold each other accountable. Phil Jackson and Pat Riley (only coaches to win titles in LA in the last 30 years) won’t be here to do that for them. Kobe’s seen how Phil has done 5 different times. Now Kobe’s gotta assume Phil’s role. That’s what it’s gonna take to get #6.

  7. ckinthekc99 - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Im sorry Gasol fans, I’m sick of hearing about how great he was in 2007! This isn’t 2007, & are we going to forget about the other 5 playoffs where he is the softest player on the court, and literally disappears. He doesn’t fit with this team (DANTONI is the coach & isn’t going anywhere), is just another piece of the old & slow puzzle which we need to change if we have ANY chance of winning a title! Did I mention that he also makes $20 million a year? He’s our only piece worth anything that we realistically will trade. I actually love how Dwight & Kobe are playing, it’s the other 8 guys that we are relying on going forward.

    • nlruizjr - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:04 AM

      please get your facts straight !!!!!!

  8. themagicfanguy - Dec 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Doesn’t matter, seasons already over for them.

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 16, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      No, the season’s already over for YOU.

      btw, how’s your superstar Aarron Afflalo doing for you guys? You know, the main piece you got back in the big trade. The guy your management held out to get the best deal it could for months and months and months.

  9. magicbucs - Dec 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Lakers are 2-5 without Gasol? They’re not much better with him lol the last time he had a good season was 2009…

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 16, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      ’09/’10: Played 65 games, averaged 37 minutes per game, shot 53% from the field, 79% from the line, averaged 11 rebounds per game, averaged 3.4 assists per game, averaged 18.3 points a game.

      ’10/’11: 82 games, 37 mpg, 53% fgs, 82% fts, 10 rpg, 3.3 apg, 18.8 ppg.

      ’11/’12: 65 games, 37 mpg, 50% fgs, 78% fts, 10 rpg, 3.7 apg, 17.4 ppg.

      Facts are stubborn things. – John Adams

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      …right around the same time your team was last relevent, huh….

      • scalfor3 - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM

        Does talking down to magic fans make you feel like a man?

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:10 AM

        @scalfor3: Hmmm… I don’t think so. But it sure feels great doing it to magic fans who are laker haters.

  10. themagicfanguy - Dec 16, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    @maltliquor lmao you know the Magic have a better record than the lakers right? We also smashed you on your own court, so I’d say Afflalo is doing fine lol. Don’t be bitter because your “super team” isn’t even as good as the Magic.
    About that trade? Hmm let’s see, looks like we made out better than Philly(Bynum hasn’t even played yet), Denver(Iggy looks like trash), and LA(because you suck even with Dwight).
    Meanwhile we have a rookie head coach, a bunch of rookies and new faces on the roster, and yet we’re still better than LA. Things looking up for the Magic, can’t say the same about LA.

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 16, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Yes, I know that. I also know we WILL make the playoffs this year. You guys are like a half game ahead of us. You can’t tell me deep down in your heart you think the Magic will squeak into the playoffs. You do in the back of your mind know the Lakers will be there.

  11. themagicfanguy - Dec 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    “…right around the same time your team was last relevent, huh….”

    Also right about the time that Nash was relevant, also the last time anybody saw Kobe play defense. Have fun with your 10-14 super team lmao!

  12. themagicfanguy - Dec 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    No… I don’t. The lakers would need 50-55 wins to make the playoffs in the west, which they won’t get. Do the math.
    The magic have a better chance at making the playoffs due to being in the east. Either way it doesn’t matter to me, I started the season thinking we would be the worst team in the league, and now we’re higher in the standings than LA. For us the season has already exceeded expectations, for you it’s championship or bust. Since you won’t even make the postseason, you’re season is already a massive disappointment. I mean come on! They may fire TWO coaches in one year LA they’re so bad lol.

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:34 AM

      50-55 wins to get into the playoffs out west was yesteryear buddy. Take a gander at the standings. Dang near every team, west or east, is hovering around .500. Do the math, pal All it takes is a lil hot streak to get back in the mix. Just you wait and see.

  13. ckinthekc99 - Dec 16, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    The Magic got a pretty good deal IMO & that’s coming from a Laker fan. Like someone said, they sure did better than Philly!!! Sure did better than the Hornets for Chris Paul ( that trade looks ridiculously bad considering their main pieces were Eric Gordon & Austin Rivers). Now as for the Laker haters, do you honestly think there’s a remote chance they don’t make the playoffs? Not trying to sound like one of some douchebag fans, but seriously get a clue!

  14. 00maltliquor - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    @ scalfor3

    Normally I would just leave them alone, but every Laker article these same 2 Magic fans are always tryna talk trash and dump on my team. Which is cool, I don’t mind trash talk. But it’s like every article and it’s always on some nonscence. I just got fed up with it finally, so instead of just turning the other cheek, I jabbed back. This isn’t my style or my M.O. like some people on here but it was just getting annoying. They’re sounding like a bunch of crybaby scorned CLE fans post LeBron.

    ckinthekc99- C’mon man, they got hosed! You can’t really be serious.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:16 AM

      I’m with you on this one, buddy.

      These yahoos weren’t even rabid like this last year. Just so happened it was the team D12 finally ended up with. The same team that Shaq chose to go to instead of staying in their banner-less franchise.

  15. themagicfanguy - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    lol @maltliquor, you thinks the lakers are making the playoffs? Do the math, they would need 50-55 wins… Not going to happen. The Magic actually stand a better chance due to playing in the east. Along with what you said, I’ve been a rabid magic supporter since ’92 when I first got into basketball, not just since Dwight left. You’re telling me that if Kobe did LA like Dwight did ORL you wouldn’t dislike him or whatever team stood to benefit from it? We have reason to be haters, get used to it.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      Then hate on Dwight. Why hate on the Lakers?

      If anything, the Lakers’ management are just doing their job like THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO DO. Been doing excellent at that consistently compared to most NBA teams as reflected by their numerous O’Briens.

      What has your franchise achieved so far since ’92? Kapoot. Nada. Maymee. Zilch.

      You don’t have the swag to back up with when you talk smack against the Lakers franchise coz YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW.

      Get used to it.

      • manchestermiracle - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        If Dwight was such a horrible piece of crap like these Magic “fans” like to claim, shouldn’t they be happy the Lakers took him off their hands? What’s going on here is that they’re bitter about losing him and they know, while never admitting it, that their team will be irrelevant for a long, long time.

  16. themagicfanguy - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    That irrelevant team beat you on your home floor with a bunch of supposed nobodies, the lakers are done. Your down and out, we at least have some young talent to develop and build with. You have a bunch if old ineffective players and… Jordan Hill??
    Lol you guys are basement dwellers now GET USED TO THAT! You aren’t even the best team in your own city lol!

  17. themagicfanguy - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I also think its funny that whenever I talk trash all the laker fans bring up titles, but they always make up some excuse like “that was 50 years ago!” when they argue with a Celtics fan. Guess what? NOW is what matters! This season! And this season, the Magic punched you in the mouth at home, and are a better team. Accept it.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:53 AM

      We talk titles because the Lakers franchise has proven itself time and time again. What about you? What has your franchise proven so far?

      You just beat us with ONE MEASLY GAME and you think that defines both teams already? You sir, are a Doofus.

      Your franchise has always been rebuilding and still come up short. Now, you’re rebuilding AGAIN. Talk to us when you guys get a title… AND DEFEND IT the year after.

      For the moment, STFriggnU.

  18. nativetexan2012 - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Not sure why this has become a discussion about Dwight Howard and the Magic. Gasol might as well wait for Nash to return because they want to see if Nash can make him fit into the offense. The more rest the better if the team can win some games. Worried about Nash. He says he’s still having discomfort from the nerve irritation. I saw him practicing, and he’s obviously not 100% yet.

  19. fruitcovejag - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    Foul Dwimmerlaik you act like you were the SG on some of those championship teams. Shut up DA! Your favorite team has played well in the PAST and won. Orlando won’t be able to compete with the Lakers just like the Royals can’t compete with the Yankees. It was hilarious however watching Dwight storm off the court after that loss to the Magic and not have anything to say. Not even his standard “We need to play with more energy”. I do enjoy watching these super teams struggle. Pulling for the home grown OKC and Spurs from the West. Would be VERY enjoyable to see the Lakers not make the playoffs. As a matter of fact, it would make my NBA season!

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