Pau Gasol shows “improvement” but not enough to be cleared for basketball activities

Alhough they’ve considered Pau Gasol showing “improvement” from a concussion he suffered four days ago, the Lakers haven’t cleared him for basketball related activities after the Lakers forward visited neurologist Dr. Vern Williams on Thursday.

Gasol plans to visit with Williams Friday morning in hopes he can still play tomorrow night when the Lakers (15-20) host the Oklahoma City Thunder (27-8) at Staples Center.


According to the NBA’s concussion policy, a player has to pass a series of tests symptom free before being cleared to play. Each player takes a baseline test before the season starts and is used to determine whether they’re symptom free following a concussion. Once a player is symptom free, they undergo five steps and have to stay symptom free after each exercise before moving on to the next one.

Those steps, according to an NBA official, include the following drills:

1. Stationary bike
2. Light jogging
3. Running, jumping and agility drills
4. Team drills with limited contact.
5. Return to participation without restrictions.

Gasol originally suffered the injury in the waning seconds of the Lakers’ loss Sunday to the Denver Nuggets, where Denver center JaVale McGee accidentally elbowed him on his nose. Blood immediately poured out, causing him to leave the game. Gasol’s nose wasn’t broken, but it appeared swollen and required him wearing a foam type material under his right nostril to stop the bleeding. Gasol was then diagnosed with a concussion on Monday and then saw Williams for the first time on Tuesday.

The Lakers have gone 0-2 during Gasol’s absence on the team’s two-game trip to Houston (Tuesday) and San Antonio (Wednesday), coinciding with other injuries to Dwight Howard (right shoulder) and Jordan Hill (left hip).

Kobe Bryant suffered a concussion last season in the 2012 NBA All-Star game after Dwyane Wade accidentally elbowed him in the nose. Bryant managed to pass the tests three days after the concussion and didn’t miss any games.

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