The Los Angeles Lakers have dealt with injuries the entire season, losing players like Jordan Hill and Steve Nash for extended periods of time. Recently they've lost Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, Gasol with a foot injury and Bryant with a sprained ankle.
But new reports suggest that both are nearing their return.
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According to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, Mike D'Antoni is hoping that Bryant and Gasol will both be back in action on Friday night against the Washington Wizards.
Still, Trudell reported that it is D'Antoni's hope and probably shouldn't be taken very literally. The team is still waiting to see how Gasol responds to treatment and how well he performs during on-court action in practice.
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.
Regardless, the news that both Bryant and Gasol are nearing their respective returns is great news for Los Angeles, who is in the midst of a heated playoff positioning battle with several Western Conference teams.