Though he went through the entire morning shootaround on Monday, Lakers forward Pau Gasol says he won’t know whether he will play tonight against Cleveland at Staples Center until sensing how the moderate strain in his big left toe feels after his pre-game warmups.
“I didn’t do a whole lot,” Gasol said. “I was happy with things I’ve done. I didn’t really jump that much or try any explosive moves. But I was running up and down at a decent pace. IT was good. Let’s see if I can push off and play.”
Gasol missed both practices on Sunday and Monday after suffering the injury in the first half of the Lakers’ loss Friday to the Clippers, an injury he stemmed from feeling a pull in his toe after changing direction with his foot. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he will pair Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman in the frontcourt if Gasol can’t suit up, but D’Antoni said he’s “optimistic” Gasol will play. Assuming that happens, D’Antoni will start Gasol with Robert Sacre.
“I think he will go so I’m not worried about it,” D’Antoni said of Gasol.
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.
“This season is nothing major, but it’s been nagging and bothersome,” Gasol said. “That has happened to a lot of plays at a high percentage. That’s par for the NBA. It happens to most guys in the NBA.”
Yet, Gasol remains reluctant toward definitely playing.
“When I’m putting my foot on the extension, that’s when it hurts the most. You have to push off your body weight and jump off with strength,” Gasol said. “Hopefully these three days of rest, it feels better. I think it did. Let’s see if I can play with it.”
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