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Pau Gasol practices, “optimistic” will play vs. Heat

Jan 16, 2013, 4:23 PM EST

Pau Gasol AP

The NBA made a wise decision regarding concussions — if you want to play after one you have to be cleared by a league neurologist, not the team doctor. If you want to know why that is a good idea, why not ask the team doctors that cleared Robert Griffin III and Rob Gronkowski to play in the NFL playoffs.

But Gasol went through 3-on-3 drills on Wednesday and said he was “optimistic” he would be cleared to play of Thursday night when the Lakers host the Miami Heat, the team reports.

And he could come off the bench, adds Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

 

I think Mike D’Antoni likes the idea of having Earl Clark stay in the starting lineup and having Gasol come off the bench to sub out Dwight Howard or Metta World Peace, depending on what matchups dictate. But for it to fly in the locker room it has to be Gasol’s idea — Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are still Gasol backers. So you say it’s temporary and if it goes well it’s something Gasol would suggest. He’s a team player.

But whether he starts or comes off the bench long term, Gasol will be back soon. And he has to find a way to fit and produce while trade rumors swirl around him. That is another in the long line of challenges the Lakers must deal with to keep their playoffs hopes alive.

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