Pau Gasol Returns, But The Lakers Still Have Injury Concerns
The Lakers will hit the halfway point in their season Monday night when they host last year's Finals opponent, the Orlando Magic. This game marks the Lakers 26th home game this year, where they are a league best 22-3. They've won 17 of their last 18 at Staples
The Lakers currently have a league best 31-9 record, which even though they have had a home-friendly schedule, is still quite impressive given the injuries that the team has dealt with.
The Injury Update
"If I can walk, I will play." Those were the words Kobe Bryant uttered after the Lakers lost to the Spurs last week, a game in which he missed the almost the entire second half due to back spasms. As a testament to how much Bryant loves the game, the night after the loss to the Spurs, he had his personal masseuse flown into Dallas on a red-eye flight in order to work on his back and ensure he could play against the Mavericks. The Lakers star came to play the following night against the Mavericks, knocking down what proved to be the game winning shot in a 100-95 victory. Bryant only managed 10 points in the game, and it was painful to watch as he crossed inside the 3-point line on offense only a handful of times due to his limited mobility.
While Bryant's injuries are a concern, the Lakers saw the return of Pau Gasol from a six-game absence due to a hamstring injury. Gasol scored 20 points and had six rebounds, though he showed a bit of rust, shooting only 4 for 10 from the field in his 30 minutes of action.
Luke Walton also returned to the lineup, recovering from a pinched nerve in his back, and has been averaging eight minutes of action in his three games back. Though Walton’s statistics are not outstanding, he has always seemed to bring the cohesiveness and “glue” to help the second team run the sometimes mind-boggling triangle offense (remember how lost Kwame Brown used to look on the court?).Continued on the next page