Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Bryant And Gasol Ready By Friday? Mike D'Antoni Surely Hopes So

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Mar 20, 2013 04:36 PM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (L) listens to Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (R) during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago, Illinois, January 21, 2013.(Photo : Reuters) "

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.

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.

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Bryant, who was already rumored to return Friday, returning Friday isn't much of a surprise, but Gasol would be. It was speculated that Gasol would be out at least two more weeks.

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.

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