Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Pau Gasol Expected Return Is In Another 2 Weeks, Can Team Manage Playoff Berth Without Him?

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Mar 20, 2013 10:50 AM EDT
Pau Gasol
Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (L) drives on Dallas Mavericks forward Troy Murphy (C), as Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois watches, during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas November 24, 2012. "

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol has been sidelined with an injured foot for nearly two months, and without question the Lakers have missed his contributions on the court. To make matters worst the team is also with leading scorer Kobe Bryant with an ankle injury.

However, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, Gasol might be back in on the floor within two weeks, would probably make him available for the post season should the Lakers make the playoffs.

The Lakers have surely missed Gasol's productivity on offense and especially on defense, leaving most of the work to their lone big man in the paint Dwight Howard. With his presence on the floor the defense is sure to improve as well as the team's offense.

Without Gasol the Lakers clearly lack the size and strength inside to remain tough defensively when Howard is on the bench. Phoenix out-rebounded the Lakers 55-45 without Gasol on Monday, even with Howard and Earl Clark combining for 21 rebounds.

Gasol is averaging 13.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season.

Meanwhile, Bryant has missed (basically) the last three games with a sprained ankle that he suffered in the team's loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He attempted to play last Friday against the Indiana Pacers, but only got 12 minutes of action in before being forced to sit for the final three quarters of the game. He didn't play Sunday against the Kings (W) or Monday against the Suns (L), but he could be back sooner than expected.

However, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, D'Antoni said he believes Bryant will be back on the Lakers floor this upcoming Friday when the team host the visiting Washington Wizards.

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