Lakers’ Pau Gasol to play Friday against Clippers
Pau Gasol already had practiced with the Lakers on Thursday, going hard with his teammates in a contact session in an attempt to test his strained left hamstring that kept him out of the last six games.
Then his teammates left, but Gasol stayed and took shots from the baseline, from the pinch-post and from the free-throw line.
When he was done, Gasol said he plans to play tonight against the Clippers in the Lakers’ home game at Staples Center.
Gasol’s workout at the Lakers’ practice facility Thursday and his workouts before games in San Antonio on Tuesday and in Dallas on Wednesday left him pain-free.
“Obviously after a little tear, you feel scar tissue that is built there,” Gasol said. “But other than that, there’s no pain and I trust that I can be out there playing at my best right now without any danger.”
Gasol missed the first 11 regular-season games with a strained right hamstring. Overall, this season the Lakers are 19-3 when Gasol plays and 11-6 when he is sidelined.
Gasol said he doesn’t have any concerns about having suffered two hamstring injuries.
“I feel confident that I can be out there with no risk and no danger -- no more than any of my other teammates,” Gasol said. “It’s just a matter of going out and playing and going hard. I’m ready to play.”
In the 22 games Gasol has played, he’s averaged 16.8 points on 55.4% shooting and 11.5 rebounds in 36.1 minutes per game.
Before he could be asked a question about the back spasms that derailed him in San Antonio and slowed him down in Dallas, KobeBryant gave his own medical update.
“Back is a little tight,” Bryant quickly said. “Other than that, I’m fine.”
After playing 32 minutes Tuesday night and none in the fourth quarter against the Spurs when he first came down with back spasms and after scoring all 10 of his points in the second half in 35 minutes against the Mavericks on Wednesday night, Bryant was asked if he could play a full game against the Clippers tonight.
Bryant paused for a few seconds and smiled.
“Yeah,” he responded.
On the flight home from Dallas to Los Angeles after Wednesday’s game, Bryant said he wore a “nice little device” on his back.
“That kind of kept it loose,” Bryant said. “It didn’t stiffen up on me.”
Bryant didn’t practice Thursday, and he said he has no concern about his back for tonight’s game.
“I’ll be effective,” he said. “I don’t care if I look like 60-year-old Larry Bird, I’ll be effective.”
Lakers step up
In their victory over Dallas, Bryant was the fifth-leading scorer on the team. Three Lakers produced double-doubles.
It was obvious to Lakers Coach Phil Jackson that Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Jordan Farmar played a bigger role for the Lakers with Bryant ailing; something Jackson has implored his team to do more often.
“Well, I think that’s a big part of it,” Jackson said.
“I always call it lollipop that you just put in your mouth and suck on it when you’ve got Kobe to throw it to, either that or thumb-sucking,” Jackson said, smiling. “That’s an easy out. We talked about that in our film session the morning after that San Antonio game.”