Pau Gasol could return Dec. 22 vs. Golden State

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After reporting zero setbacks in the knee tendinitis that has already sidelined him for over a week, Lakers forward Pau Gasol considered himself “probable” to return Dec. 22 against the Golden State Warriors.

Meanwhile, Gasol listed himself as “doubtful” when the Lakers play the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday and “questionable” when the Lakers host the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday at Staples Center. Gasol’s absence in tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards will make the seventh consecutive game he’s missed since considering his knee tendinitis too painful to play. Gasol also said he’s run on the treadmill in recent days.

Gasol stressed one thing regarding his timetable.

“There’s no definites right now,” he said.

Still, Gasol’s progress marks the little dose of good news for the Lakers after losing four consecutive games.

The Lakers have also gone 1-5 in Gasol’s absence. Does Gasol believe he’s made the right decision to sit out?

“For sure. I have no doubt,” he said. “We haven’t obtained the results we would like to as a team lately, but we’ll be better off later on.”

Gasol has reasons to feel optimistic he will improve on his career-low 12.6 points per game average on 42.6 percent shooting once he returns.

He believes the knee tendinitis, which emerged at the beginning of training camp, hurt his explosion, jumping and posting up abilities. Gasol also seems well aware that Steve Nash’s eventual return from a fractured right leg will presumably open him up for more scoring chances.

“We both see each other making progress because we both work out at the same time and we both feel like we’re in the right direction,” Gasol said. “We’re feeling better. We don’t want to anticipate or get ahead of ourselves too quickly, but we’re looking forward to get back.”

Before that happens, Gasol said he needs to “do some drills on the court,” including two-on-two and three-on-three sequences. Meanwhile, Gasol has rehabbed with icing, pain medication and exercises his gluteus and core muscles to ensure better balance around his tendons. Of course, rest from the constant pounding inside has helped too.

“We don’t want to risk going back to the way it was before,” Gasol said. :So we’re taking it one step at a time so we don’t have any setbacks and I don’t have to be out any longer than I need to.”

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