Pau Gasol received an MRI on Monday that showed a moderate strain in the big toe in his left foot, making him a game-time decision when the Lakers (14-23) play Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-24) at Staples Center.
Gasol didn’t speak to reporters Monday, but the Lakers say he injured his foot in the first half of the team’s loss Friday to the Clippers.
Gasol missed three games last month because of an upper respiratory infection. He had also been slowed earlier this season by a mildly sprained right ankle and poor conditioning stemmed from an offeseason procedure to treat tendonosis in both of his knees. He has averaged 15.6 points on a career-low 44.8 percent shooting.
Gasol’s latest injury could leave the Lakers without a player Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni had described as their leader moments before the team learned about Gasol’s setback.
“I don’t think we’re fragmented,” D’Antoni said. “It would be different if we were selfish. Everybody is trying to pull away. To me that’s not a problem we have if we’re leaderless or rudderless. They’re trying and going in the right direction and trying to do the right thing. We’re just shorthanded and overmatched sometimes, quite frankly. The biggest thing is the leader that Pau is keeps everybody’s spirits up and stays positive and comes to work every day and tries to put a good foot forward.”