Pau Gasol will start for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night after two weeks on the sidelines with tendinitis in both knees. Gasol practiced on Monday and has no limitations on playing time Tuesday night.
Gasol's return is not the only good injury news the Lakers received ahead of Tuesday’s game. Jordan Hill has also recovered from back spasms and is considered a game time decision against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The biggest injury news, however, continues to be Steve Nash’s recovery from a fractured fibula. After nearly seven weeks out, the point guard finally practiced on Monday. Later this week, Nash is scheduled to play in a full-contact scrimmage, and the 38-year-old point guard appears to be about a week away from returning to the lineup.
On Tuesday, Nash said he would "most likely" return on Christmas Day against the Knicks.
On Tuesday evening, however, the Lakers must focus on extending coach Mike D’Antoni’s first winning streak as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. After winning back-to-back road games against the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers appear to have taken a step forward after taking several steps back.
The Bobcats enter Staples Center on an 11-game losing streak; however, the Bobcats seem to always cause problems for the Lakers. Going back to the 2005-06 season, the Bobcats are 8-5 against the Lakers despite only having one winning season during that stretch.
Considering the Bobcats’ bad streak and the Lakers overall positive energy over the past five days, the Lakers should handle business on Tuesday night and get a win. If the Lakers can rattle off a win on Saturday against the Warriors and another against the Knicks on Christmas Day, this team can be sitting at .500 with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard all healthy and starting.
Focusing on the immediate task, Tuesday’s goal is simple: extend the winning streak.