Pau Gasol is set to return to the Los Angeles Lakers starting lineup next week. He’s been sidelined since Febuary 5 with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot.
Gasol told the Los Angeles Times that the only game he is sure he won’t play in is Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.
Gasol said to the paper, “Everything else is possible. I’m not going to hold myself back if I think I’m ready to play. There’s not many games left in the season and every game will be valuable to us,” He continued, “We’re keeping our options open. We’re trying to see how I progress over the next few days.”
When Gasol was injured, he was coming off the bench as the Lakers sixth man. However, Earl Clark has been struggling as a permanent member of the starting lineup and Gasol is expected to take the spot back upon returning. Clark started out well but was unable to maintain the momentum he started out with. He’s averaging 7.9 points per game and 6 rebounds per game.
Even before he was injured, Gasol wasn’t having a great season and he has suffered continuous injuries. His return won’t put the Lakers at full strength but his averages of 13.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game will give the Lakers the boast they need with Kobe Bryant out indefinitely.
If Gasol returns before Bryant does, it will be the first time that Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Gasol have played together without Bryant. It will be interesting to see if this dynamic will be successful.