The Los Angeles Lakers will have their star forward Pau Gasol in the lineup very shortly, and according to reports, the Spaniard will be inserted into the starting lineup.
Gasol suffered a foot injury in a game against the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 5 and he was initially ruled out for six to eight weeks. In Gasol’s absence, the team has played well and is currently the eight seed in the Western Conference standings. Although Gasol is ruled out for the team’s next game against the Indiana Pacers, he will be back on the court within a week.
The Los Angeles Times reports that once Gasol is ready to play, he will take Earl Clark’s spot in the starting lineup.
Gasol will return to the starting lineup next week in place of struggling Earl Clark, unless conditioning reasons force him to come off the bench for a game or two, an unlikely event.
Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t want to repeat the distractions caused by Gasol’s demotion to reserve status, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Gasol has struggled mightily this season and he has not looked like the player he once was. This is Gasol’s worst season since his rookie year and he is averaging a career low 13.4 points per game and is shooting only 45.3 percent from the field.
However, with Kobe Bryant out indefinitely due to a severe ankle sprain, Gasol should be getting more touches on the offensive end. The Lakers will need to fill the void with Bryant out of the lineup and Gasol can help guide the team while Kobe is sideline with the injury.