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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.

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