In what’s become a persisting theme for this disappointing season, the Lakers’ flurry of point guards returning to practice coincided with one of their key players staying sidelined.
Pau Gasol missed Thursday’s practice and remained confined to individual drills after a groin injury worsened in the Lakers’ loss Tuesday to the Indiana Pacers. Although the Lakers (16-30) consider Gasol probable for tomorrow’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats (20-27) at Staples Center, the Lakers forward sounded as if this injury could affect his play.
“I’m still not healed. Because of the tape job I play with to protect the toe, it’s affecting my groin,” Gasol said. “I’m going to try to continue to heal the day and make it feel better and improve.”
Gasol had also recently nursed a moderate strain in his left big toe that causes him to compensate.
“It makes me put the load differently and run differently because I’m protecting the toe,” Gasol said. “I’m putting more weight on my other toes because I’m changing. my load. It’s putting a lot of pressure to my right groin. That’s why it’s been pulling. The last game was really sore.”
Gasol hasn’t just been bothered by injuries. He’s showed irritation with the Lakers’ persistent losing. So much that he yelled at his teammates following the Lakers’ loss Friday to Orlando. He admitted feeling “pissed off” after the Lakers’ loss Sunday to New York concluded a 2-7 trip.
“I was trying to send a message to my teammates. It’s just the way I felt at that point,” Gasol said. “I wanted to get everybody focused and not giving up and making sure we get our best shot at every single game and not just surrender.”
Gasol has done his part.
He has averaged 20.6 points on 50.9 percent shooting 12.1 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game through 14 contests, a sharp increase from his totals in November (14.9 points on 43 percent shooting and 10.3 rebounds) and December (15.5 points on 46 percent shooting and 7.8 rebounds).
“I’m just getting in good shape and playing with confidence and aggressiveness,” Gasol said. “I’m getting into a rhythm with my teammates looking for me on the post and in areas where I’m most effective.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org