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Pau Gasol cleared to play vs. Heat, will come off bench

Jan 17, 2013, 2:34 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

If you’re looking for a weakness for the Miami Heat to attack, it is size and rebounding. They count on their athleticism, pressure defense and LeBron James to overcome that, but they have a weakness.

So if you’re the Lakers, this is a good time to get Pau Gasol back.

Gasol has been cleared to play by a league neurologist and will suit up for the team Thursday night when Los Angeles hosts Miami. So tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA.com.

Gasol will come off the bench for the Lakers but could return to the starting lineup as soon as Sunday.

The Lakers — in desperate need of wins to even make the playoffs — have looked better the last couple games. Dwight Howard came back from his shoulder injury playing with a lot more energy on both ends and the Lakers defense has been better because of it.

But the wins were against the Cavaliers and Bucks — the Miami Heat are a totally different measuring stick. Ask the Warriors, who got run out of the building on Wednesday night (granted, Stephen Curry was out).

We’ll see if the Lakers can build on their momentum with Gasol back in the lineup. Or if Miami will be a reminder like the Thunder game of where the team sits right now.

  1. aboogy123456 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Lakers will beat the heat tonight handily, I can’t wait!! Who is going to stop Dwight howard? The heat are too small, and dwight is too dominant.

    • captainwisdom8888 - Jan 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Hat by 20

      • captainwisdom8888 - Jan 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

        Heat by 20

  2. cosanostra71 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Good news for the Lakers! Hope they can build on the momentum and pull out a big win tonight! They will need to play focused from end to end like they did against Cleveland. Any lapse in energy like they had against Milwaukee and they will lose.

  3. miamatt - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Amazing how a basketball player misses more time than the average football player with a concussion.

    In no way shape or form am I trying to say that Gasol or NBA players in general are soft. Just that the sport which repeatedly puts players’ heads at risk rushes them back on the field so much faster. Two very divergent cultures regarding America’s top two sports.

    • unxpexted1 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      I’ve always wondered the same thing. I believe Pau was out with a concussion for well over a week last year too. Whereas football players comeback in a week. The other key is the NBA uses outside doctors while the NFL just uses team doctors so i’m assuming they are more stringent? Still an interesting difference.

    • eventhorizon04 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      Most football players miss anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks with a concussion.

      That’s roughly Pau’s time missed.

      • eventhorizon04 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        The difference is that there’s only 1 NFL game per week, and the players miss practice during the week, not games, as they recover.

  4. unxpexted1 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    I’m curious to see how my Lakers show up in this game. I’m also interested in how Pau will do coming off the bench, which I think is a better look for him at this point. I feel like people(even Lakers fans) forget that even though Pau was a legit reason we won championships, we always had the ONE bench player (Lamar Odom), and he has yet to be replaced. If we could just somehow find production off the bench we can formidable, maybe this is a step to finding that. We’ll see

  5. BigBeachBall - Jan 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    heat will win… always happens when a team brings back a starter from injury…

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