Pau Gasol was re-examined by Dr. Vern Williams on Friday morning, but the Spaniard was not cleared to play in the Friday night game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Gasol originally suffered the concussion when he caught a rebound and was struck in the face by JaVale McGee’s arm in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. Gasol was unable to return to the court, and Denver head coach George Karl selected little-known Earl Clark to take the two free throws.
Clark, who is a 90 percent free throw shooter in practice, quickly knocked down the foul shots.
After the game, Gasol was asked about the play, and the concussed Gasol described the play in a haze. He thought Danilo Gallinari was the player that struck him, and Gasol’s confusion was scary to witness.
Gasol did not travel with the team to Houston or San Antonio earlier this week.
Also, he underwent a battery of tests on Thursday but was not cleared by Williams for the concussion. On Friday, he underwent another round of testing, but Williams again refused to clear the 7-footer for Friday night’s game against the Thunder.
Incidentally, Clark will start for the Lakers at power forward against the Thunder after having a career night against San Antonio on Wednesday. The Lakers are also without Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill, so the relatively unknown rookie Robert Sacre is starting at center.
The shorthanded Lakers certainly have their work cut out for them, but Sacre and Clark provide energy, hunger, and hope to a struggling team desperate for win.