DALLAS — As if the Lakers can tolerate any more bad news this year.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni suggested Pau Gasol won’t return in the regular season after nursing torn plantar fascia in his right foot for the past three weeks.
“By the time he gets back, we’ll be in or out,” D’Antoni said. “His impact will be in the playoffs if we get there.”
The Lakers (28-29) have 25 games remaining before the regular season ends April 17 against the Houston Rockets. After their 103-99 victory Sunday over the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers remain 2 ½ games behind the Houston Rockets (31-27) for the eighth and final playoff spot.
“I don’t think anyone on this team is counting the days for Pau to come back because we don’t have time,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said. “We have to win now. Although we’d welcome him back this instances, we have to move on and try to win games without him and find an identity.”
Gasol originally was expected to miss at least four to six weeks after suffering the injury in the final minutes of the Lakers’ win Feb. 5 against the Brooklyn Nets. He expressed optimism last week he would soon walk without crutches.
“It’s close,” D’Antoni said. “He might be using them, just barely. But he’s close.”
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