Pau Gasol expects to stay limited in rehab next three weeks

As he walked around giving kids high five and stressing the importance of fire safety, Pau Gasol provided visual evidence that he’s making steps forward in his recovery from knee tendonosis.

A day after walking without crutches three weeks following a procedure in both knees, Gasol appeared to move fluidly. Yet, he plans to limit his movement at least for the next three weeks. Once he gains the necessary range of motion, Gasol expects to start swimming afterwards.

“It’s getting better,” Gasol said after visiting 61st Street Elementary School with the nonprofit MySafe L.A. “One day at a time. It’s a long recovery. I’m still in the early stages of it.”

The Lakers expect Gasol to return to basketball-related activities within nine weeks. Still, Gasol will have plenty of activity in the next few days to keep him moving.

Gasol will host a pep rally Monday at the Boys & Girls Club in downtown Los Angeles to mark the beginning of his self-named foundation. As part of his initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle, Gasol and his brother, Marc, of the Memphis Grizzlies will coach two different teams in what’s called “The Healthy Competition 2013″ running from June 10 through Aug. 2. Using gifted Nike Fuelbands (retailed at $149) to track the teams’ progress, either Pau or Marc will have to shave their beard if their respective team loses.

“Hopefully I can motivate my guys on Monday to make sure they’re active and exercise all summer long so we can beat the Boys and Girls Club in Memphis,” Gasol said. “So I don’t have to shave my beard off.”

In a few days after that, Gasol will fly to his native Spain.

From there, Gasol will go through various rehab exercises involving icing and electronic stimulation on his knees. It sure marks progress from the past three weeks where he mostly spent his time watching movies and reading books, including Mike Krzyzewski’s “Beyond Basketball.”

“He talks a lot about values and concepts and team work and team success,” Gasol said. “He’s a great coach and great leader and has great devotion for it. He’s a guy I’d like to learn from. There’s a lot of values he talks about. I enjoyed it and he relates those concepts to situations and players. I think it’s pretty positive.”

It’s proven difficult keeping that mindset, though.

Gasol, who’s under contract next season for $19.3 million, could be traded or waived via the amnesty provision. He missed a total of 33 games due to various ailments, including knee tendonitis that sidelined him for eight games in early December. But Gasol said the injury lingered throughout the season. Such ailments and Gasol’s reduced offensive role under Mike D’Antoni’s system contributed to him averaging a career-low 13.7 points on 46.6 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds through 49 games.

Gasol traveled to Memphis last week only to see his brother, Marc, fall in a four-game sweep in the Western Conference to the San Antonio Spurs. About a month ago, the Lakers suffered the same fate to San Antonio in the first round. And Gasol’s continuously reminded of that reality whenever he turns the television on.

“I can’t get away from it unfortunately,” Gasol said regarding the playoffs. “When I’m away in Spain, it’s easier because I won’t get up at 3 a.m. to watch a game. Here, I can’t help it. I love to watch it as much it might hurt. But that’s part of everybody’s career.”

Fortunately for Gasol, however, his knees no longer hurt.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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  • LakerTom

    “Fortunately for Gasol, however, his knees no longer hurt.”

    Good closing line, Mark. Anybody who has played the game knows what a difference being healthy makes, especially at the professional level where the competition looks for every edge including opposing players’ injuries. In my opinion, injuries were the real reason behind Pau’s subpar performance last year. Had he been healthy from the start, he would have had a much better
    chance of fitting in Mike’s system. Injured, he had no chance whatsoever.

    Assuming the Dwight Howard re-signs and understanding that the Lakers would have to take back 2 or 3 year contracts that would reduce part of the $30M in future cap space initially reserved for 2014 or 2015 free agents, What do you think of the chances are that the Lakers could use Pau and his $19M
    expiring contract to somehow trade for any of the three following players:

    1. Klay Thompson of the Warriors.
    2. Eric Gordon of the Rockets.
    3. Eric Bledsoe of the Clippers.

    To me, those are three players who would be major acquisitions for the Lakers that would be worth using some of the $30M in future cap space. I’d love to hear what your thoughts were about targeting these three players and any other ideas you have heard about Gasol trades. Thanks.

    • Mark Medina

      The Warriors aren’t giving up Klay Thompson. Also you have to consider those players earn substantially less than Pau, which makes it more unlikely teams will shed up their core roster just to get Pau, an eleite player but one who is aging. I think the best bet is Pau will likely stay, both because of Kobe’s insistence and that it’s unlikely they can get full return on Pau’s value.