On Tuesday morning, the Lakers announced that Pau Gasol would not be playing against the Houston Rockets due to tendinitis in both knees. At first, this injury was seen as a one game rest for the ailing 7-footer who has struggled with the issue since the start of the season. However, Gasol’s Twitter account suggested that the Spaniard may be out longer than one game.
Gasol’s tweet read: “Tonight we're playing in Houston against the Rockets. Today I'm not going to play due to tendinitis on my knees. I hope I can be back soon!”
Although this statement hardly rules Gasol out of Wednesday night’s game in New Orleans, it does put some doubt over the length of time Gasol will spend on the sidelines.
In Gasol’s absence, reports suggest that Antawn Jamison will move into the starting lineup. This change should signal more time for Jordan Hill at power forward off the bench. Hill was a productive player off the bench for the Lakers earlier in the season, but over the past two games, he has only played 3 minutes.
On Monday, the Lakers also recalled Robert Sacre from the D-League, and the preseason standout should get some quality minutes backing up Dwight Howard. Sacre’s effectiveness in giving Howard a rest may be the difference between Gasol missing one game or extended time.
Also, if Sacre is able to play well enough as Howard’s backup, the Lakers may look to trade Gasol for a player who better fits coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast pace offensive system.
With Gasol out, D’Antoni decided to shake up the lineup a bit further. Chris Duhon expects to start against Houston with Darius Morris sliding back into a bench role. Morris has struggled as of late, Duhon has been playing well, and Duhon is familiar with the coach’s philosophy from his time in New York. This change is not a surprise.
The Lakers will still have the Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, the two best players on the floor, in Tuesday night's contest against the Houston Rockets, but this is hardly the super star team the fans expected at the start of the season.