Nash, Gasol: Both Back Next Week?

OKLAHOMA CITY – Steve Nash is inching his way back, going through a multitude of drills during Friday morning’s shootaround, even giving Dwight Howard a few pointers at the free-throw line. However, pinpointing the All-Star point guard’s eventually return is still not happening.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol will also miss Friday’s nationally televised game against the Oklahoma City Thunder (9:30 ET, ESPN) , his third in a row to sit out as he deals with tendinitis in his knees.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said it’s possible both could make it back when L.A. again hits the road for a four-game trip starting Tuesday at Cleveland. But he left plenty of wiggle room for that forecast.

“He’s not ready yet,” D’Antoni said of Gasol. “He’s getting better, just like Nash. I don’t know what that means, maybe Sunday, Monday or next week I don’t know.

“I would say it’s safe [to say they are out] until we go on the next road trip.”

The Lakers return home Sunday against Utah.

Nash hasn’t played since the second game of the season at Portland where he suffered a leg fracture. Gasol, the topic of recent great debate regarding his fit in D’Antoni’s offense, and subsequently trade rumors, first revealed he was dealing with a bothersome case of tendinitis in his knees after L.A.’s win at Dallas on Nov. 24.

He played in the next three games, averaging just nine points on 9-for-27 shooting. On the season, Gasol is averaging career lows of 12.6 points on 42.0 percent shooting.

He has expressed frustration with the number of jump shots coming his way and the lack of close-to-the-basket post-ups in D’Antoni’s offense. Those opportunities are in particularly short supply when Gasol shares the floor with Howard.

D’Antoni said he’s confident that Gasol can thrive in his offense and co-exist with Howard. He believes Gasol’s sore knees are a more significant reason for his decreased production than the system.

“I talk to him all the time and he says he’s fine,” D’Antoni said. “He’s got to adapt a little bit in his game because we’ve got a different system, but he’s able to. The guy’s so talented, I just don’t think he felt real well to be able to play as well as he could and when that happens you’re trying to explain to you guys [the media] what’s going on; you don‘t want to make an excuse, but at the same time, so how do you explain it?

“He’ll feel better, he’ll play better, we’ll play better for him. But again, somebody that big, that talented, that good, has won two titles, so it shouldn’t be any question about his character or how he plays. I won’t question that, that’s for sure. It’s just we need to integrate him a little bit better.”

11 Comments

  1. Griffin says:

    The Lakers have been spoiled with having the most talent. Having the most offensive talent and playing above marginal defense has carried them. Now, they have just above marginal talent and less than average defense. Kobe is slipping past his prime. Nash (by far) Gasol and Kobe struggle to defend. Artest can stop slower, less skilled players, but struggles with speed and youth. DH has little choice, either foul out or let the opponent score. I have not looked at the numbers, but the Lakers are averaging close to 100 a game. They just can’t stop anyone from scoring 110. Nash and Gasol coming back is not going to help.

  2. John Doe says:

    I really want to coach the Lakers – and I will do it for less money than D’Antoni…

  3. gw says:

    GASOL ISNT GOING TO HELP THE LAKERS, HE JUST WONT. HE NEEDS TO TAKE HIS HORMONE PILLS. GET A MALE INPLANT, SOMETHING. OH YEAH BIG BOY PANTS. besides if he takes hormone pills he will be just like the guy in the movie, the longest yard.

  4. gw says:

    MIKE DOESNT KNOW ANYTHING, HES JUST HAPPY HES THE LAKERS COACH. FOR A .500 WINNING COACH, HE AINT GOT A CLUE.

    • Max says:

      Where did you learn you so much knowledge in what makes a NBA coach? PLEASE SHARE before posting. Do you eve know Mike? ever been in the gym during a coaching game that he is in charge? Sound like nothing but a QUACK

  5. dj rgm9 says:

    I d’ont understand it why D’antoni has problem’s with the lakers offene,defence strategy?!He played before in europe,but ihe never came up to use european zone-defence?Certainly against okc they need a lot zone defence,split division sight defence.Zone defence lock’s up the paint with very difficult penetration,forces the adversary jacking up shot’s outside creating more misses&rebounds.You got more steals& better for Nash too.He can run more his natural Run n gun offence,faster setup half court also for creating spacing with cutting to the paint for Dwight especialy.Who masters the zone defence,master the game in defence combination with changes in defence-style into man to man defence.
    The Lakers have to exercise a lot,mastering the zone deffence with all players avaible.It sharp’s them up especialy in defence.Put Dwight in the middle of the zone defence for cleaning up the paint.It’s that simple to use,why not?!!!

  6. Lakers-R-Us says:

    The Lakers need a boost! Please come back Mr. Nash and Mr. Gasol! I am in mourning right now! lol

  7. javajim says:

    no if only kobe came out of the lineup……