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Lakers' Pau Gasol to play against Milwaukee

SportsLos Angeles LakersProfessional BasketballBasketballPau GasolXavier HenryNBA

A vaguely familiar presence was on the Lakers' practice court Monday.

Pau Gasol was in the far corner, doing some light shooting and one-on-one drills with Lakers teammates Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre.

He said he would play Tuesday against Milwaukee after missing three games because of a sinus infection and bronchitis that seemingly wouldn't quit. He won't be over it for weeks, he said, because of symptoms that included continual coughing and breathing troubles.

"The doctor said, 'You shouldn't be playing if you want to get over this. It's going to get worse,'" Gasol said Monday. "So I listened to it and I got better. I was able to do some stuff and [Tuesday] I'll be able to play."

Gasol just can't win, he said. Media criticism has trailed him throughout this season as his production has ebbed.

"I played through it when I first got the respiratory issue…and I was getting killed [by reporters] by not performing and all that stuff," Gasol said. "When you try to play through stuff, you still don't get any credit. You don't get credit much, especially when things aren't working out and the team's losing."

Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni rushed to support Gasol, saying any criticism was unfair.

"Pau was sick and he is getting better now and he'll be ready [Tuesday]," he said crisply.

It's been a bizarre pattern from the start, Gasol unexpectedly not dressing for a Dec. 21 game against Golden State that came exactly 24 hours after his best effort this season — 21 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists against Minnesota.

He then played two games, and not very well, against Phoenix (10 points, four rebounds) and Miami (13 points, 13 rebounds).

"I didn't really do a whole lot…I wasn't much of a factor, I guess, offensively and defensively," Gasol said.

Then he sat out two more games after seeing an ear, nose and throat specialist. They were two-point losses against two of the NBA's weakest teams, Utah and Philadelphia.

This season hasn't been a great Lakers finale for Gasol, if it turns out that way. He was averaging 14.7 points and 9.4 rebounds, small numbers compared with the soaring hopes he had after Dwight Howard bolted for Houston.

Gasol was expected to set up shop in the post, his favorite spot, since Howard would no longer take up valuable space there.

But it's not been easy for Gasol, who is making $19.3 million in the last season of his contract. He's trying to make amends by playing against the Bucks (6-24), who own the NBA's worst record.

"We're really short-handed and we need everything we can get out there and I'm going to do my best," Gasol said. "My teammates want me to be on the floor and they count on me."

Henry sidelined

Versatile reserve Xavier Henry will be sidelined at least seven days because of a bone bruise and a cartilage "abnormality" in his right knee, the Lakers said.

The Lakers weren't certain whether the abnormality was related to an injury Henry sustained earlier in his NBA career, but they hoped to have more clarity next week when his condition would be evaluated again.

Henry left Sunday's game against Philadelphia after getting stripped of the ball by Thaddeus Young. Henry's momentum carried him forward another couple of steps, and his knee buckled slightly on one of them.

He was averaging 10.4 points and 22.3 minutes.

Kaman, Farmar sit out

Reserve center Chris Kaman did not practice because of a sprained left ankle that limited him to 10 minutes against Philadelphia. It was unclear whether he would be available against Milwaukee.

Farmar also skipped practice Monday but was expected to play against the Bucks. He has played three games since coming back from a torn hamstring.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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SportsLos Angeles LakersProfessional BasketballBasketballPau GasolXavier HenryNBA
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