Pau Gasol says he won’t rush return from bothersome knees
HOUSTON — With the tendinitis in his knees that has bothered him since the preseason showing no signs of abating, Pau Gasol has decided to sit out for an undisclosed number of games.
It doesn’t sound as though it will be a short sabbatical for the Lakers power forward.
“The day [to] day [terminology] is pretty funny, but we’ll see,” Gasol said before the Lakers played the Houston Rockets on Tuesday at Toyota Center. “I’m not guessing that it’s going to be two days and the knees are going to feel wonderful all of a sudden. That would be kind of unrealistic.”
The Lakers have two more games on this trip: Wednesday in New Orleans and Friday in Oklahoma City. Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said Gasol would not be reevaluated until prior to the Thunder game at the earliest.
Antawn Jamison will take Gasol’s spot in the starting lineup against the Rockets, and the Lakers recalled rookie center Robert Sacre to provide depth.
Gasol said he may undergo an MRI exam once the Lakers return to Los Angeles this weekend to rule out a more serious condition such as tendinosis.
Gasol was averaging a career-low 12.6 points a game while shooting only 42%. His erratic play and inability to run the floor to D’Antoni’s liking led the coach to bench Gasol in the fourth quarter of recent games against Memphis and Orlando.
Gasol said his knees have affected almost every facet of his game.
“I’m not able to stop on the run and jump and get low and move my feet, and it’s a game that if you don’t get low and you don’t have a good base, you’re out of balance all the time and you don’t have the force and the explosiveness you need to finish,” he said. “It’s been something that has been noticeable. I see plays that I just don’t get to or don’t finish the way I want to. Those happen a couple of times every game and it’s been frustrating.”
Gasol said he won’t come back at less than full strength.
“Until I feel like I can be out there playing close to 100% or 100%,” he said, “the team doesn’t deserve any less, I don’t deserve any less but to be out there performing at my best, and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
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