Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol Practice, Will Play Friday - NBC Southern California
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Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol Practice, Will Play Friday

The Los Angeles Lakers practiced in El Segundo on Thursday, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol expect to play Friday, and Dwight Howard provided some comedy.



    At Los Angeles Lakers practice on March 21, 2013, Dwight Howard shows everyone he's having fun with the healthy Lakers in a funny way by impersonating Terrell Owens crying. (Published Thursday, March 21, 2013)

    The Los Angeles Lakers met in El Segundo on Thursday, and Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant took part in a short and intense practice.

    Although most expected Bryant to return to the starting lineup by Friday, Gasol’s return was not set in stone. But after Thursday’s practice, the consensus was that both Bryant and Gasol are back after taking a break to recover from injuries.

    Gasol "looked good," Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. "If he doesn’t wake up in pain or whatever, which I don’t think so, he’ll play tomorrow."

    Gasol also addressed the media after working with Dwight Howard and assistant coach Chuck Person.

    Video: Pau Gasol Back At Lakers Practice

    [LA] Pau Gasol Returns To Lakers Practice
    Pau Gasol played 5-on-5 for the first time in over six weeks and talked about his goals at Los Angeles Lakers practice on March 21, 2013.
    (Published Thursday, March 21, 2013)

    "I am expecting to play," Gasol said confidently.

    However, he admitted his conditioning was "not good" and that he would be playing limited minutes. He said the limited minutes were not only due to the conditioning but also the foot recovery process.

    Gasol participated in a 5-on-5 full court scrimmage, and Thursday was the first time he had played a full court game in more than six weeks.

    Lakers Gasol: I Expect To Play Friday

    [LA] Pau Gasol Expects To Play On Friday For Lakers
    The Los Angeles Lakers held practice on Thursday, March 21, 2013, and Pau Gasol returned to his first full 5-on-5 practice in six weeks.
    (Published Thursday, March 21, 2013)

    In regards to limitations, Gasol said he still needs to work on playing with confidence and pain.

    "I can dunk," the 7-foot Gasol laughed when asked if his jumping ability was hindered at the moment.

    Along with Gasol, the Lakers had Bryant back in practice for the first time in more than a week. Bryant was not available after practice, but D’Antoni confirmed that Bryant would play Friday against the Washington Wizards.

    [LA] Dwight Howard Talks Growth With Lakers, Bryant

    [LA] Dwight Howard Learning to Lead Lakers From Kobe Bryant
    Dwight Howard talked about how he has learned from Kobe Bryant and grown as a leader with the Los Angeles Lakers at shootaround on March 17, 2013.
    (Published Sunday, March 17, 2013)

    Kobe "practiced and I think he stiffened up a little, but he’ll be ready," D’Antoni said.

    With Steve Nash, Metta World Peace, Howard, Bryant and Gasol all playing together, the Lakers look whole again.

    Howard even revealed that the starters went on a 28-0 run in Thursday’s practice.

    No one was immediately available to verify Howard’s numbers, but he appeared genuinely excited about having the full team of players everyone imagined at the start of the season.

    Later, Howard performed a funny crying Terrell Owens impersonation when Triple Threat asked him if he was having fun.

    The Los Angeles Lakers appear to be having fun, playing good basketball, and getting healthy at the right time of the season.

    Better late than never.

    Watch:Will Pau Gasol's Return Disrupt Chemistry?

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