Despite nursing plantar fascittis in his right foot, Pau Gasol will play when the Lakers (14-15) host the Portland (14-13) tonight at Staples Center.
Gasol said he has been nursing the injury “for a while,” but he noticed the pain in the arch of his foot increasing in recent days. That’s why he spent the Lakers day off on Thursday seeing foot specialist Dr. Kenneth Jung and receiving an MRI. Gasol said a stress fracture in his left leg that he suffered during the 2003-04 season with the Memphis Grizzlies first stemmed from plantar fasciitis in that foot, causing him to miss 23 games.
“The pain has gone up a little bit,” Gasol said, who added the pain remains the highest in the mornings. “We just wanted to make sure there aren’t any fractures.”
Still, Gasol believes he can play through it.
“So far, we’ve been managing it and keeping it under control,” Gasol said. “Right now, I’m playing tonight. It’s always day by day.”
Gasol will wear orthotics and extra padding in his shoe to support his foot. He also has treated the foot with extra icing and stretching.
“At times it feels better when it warms up,” he said. “When you take off with the right foot and turn into it, it tears into it.”
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he won’t have any minute restrictions on Gasol, but highlighted it will indirectly affect the rest of the rotation. But it’s likely Antawn Jamison, who hasn’t played in the past four games, won’t have an increased role.
D’Antoni said he will assign more minutes to reserve Jordan Hill to relieve Gasol and Dwight Howard. The reason: D’Antoni likes how Metta World Peace’s offensive and defensive consistency meshes with the team’s small lineup. Jamison has averaged a career-low 7.2 points on 43.9 percent shooting and has stayed inconsistent on defense.
“I’m sure he wants to play as any player wants to play,” D’Antoni said of Jamison. “He’s the greatest professional. He knows his chance will come around.”
Meanwhile, Gasol already missed eight consecutive games because of knee tendinitis that has bothered him during training camp, a time span he said also lessened the pain considerably in his right foot. That’s coincided with Gasol averaging a career-low 12.6 points per game on 42 percent shooting and trying to adapt to Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced system. In the four games since his return, Gasol has averaged 12.75 points on 42.2 percent shooting. 8.25 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Gasol described his knees as “somewhere around” 90-95 percent healed.
Gasol spent the majority of morning shootaround working on his three-point shooting. He has gone 3 of 7 from three-point range in the past three games. Gasol also made consecutive 3-pointers against Denver, the first time he’s done such a feat since the 2003-04 season.
“I practice them more and it’s a shot that I see and that it’s going to come,” Gasol said. “I’m going to have them available in the games due to my positioning. I may as well work on it and try to make it.”
Gasol sounded in an upbeat mood, joking with reporters that his latest injury marks the latest story that has kept the Lakers’ endless soap opera “interesting.” But he made it clear he hardly feels thrilled about becoming a three-point specialist.
“It’s not a shot I want to take a whole lot,” Gasol said. “It’s a shot I want to make and I’ll work on. I’m a good shooter. It’s just a lower percentage shot farther from the rim.”
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