At Wednesday's practice, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said he expected Pau Gasol #16 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers to return on Friday after both missed time with injuries.
A horde of reporters, cameras, and media infiltrated the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility on early Wednesday afternoon in the hopes to catch a glimpse of the Lakers. With Kobe Bryant not expected to be present, the media was likely present to obsess about the return of Pau Gasol.
To their collective delight, Gasol was running full a full court 4-on-4 scrimmage when the doors opened. Robert Sacre was matchup against Gasol, and Earl Clark, Chris Duhon, Devin Ebanks, Jodie Meeks, Darius Morris, and assistant coach Phil Handy completed the eight-man game.
Gasol was clearly struggling for conditioning, but his foot did not appear to be a major bother. When asked about his foot afterward, Gasol said his pain was at a “three” out of 10.
“I still feel a little bit of soreness, but I think it’s part of the process,” Gasol said.
Coach Mike D’Antoni was optimistic about the team’s return to health.
“Hopefully Kobe and Pau will be back Friday,” D’Antoni said optimistically to start off his media session. “Kobe took an extra day, but he’s fine.”
D’Antoni also revealed that Gasol would be a start but that his conditioning may make it more of a transition into the starting role.
“I don’t know if it’s the first game or the third game, but [Gasol] is going to start,” D’Antoni stated. “We can’t do anything in the playoffs without Pau being comfortable and 100 percent.”
After practice wrapped up on Wednesday, the Lakers walked away content with the progress that had been made. However, the true test for Gasol—more than Bryant—will come on Thursday when the Lakers have a harder practice in preparation for Friday’s game against the Wizards.
Mentally and physically, though, the Lakers appear to be moving in the right direction.