Slowly but surely, Pau Gasol walked down a Staples Center hallway amid a cloud of uncertainty.
It went beyond whether the poor play will ever stop after the Lakers’ 110-100 loss Friday to the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center marked the team’s sixth consecutive defeat and 12th loss in 15 games through January. Gasol said he also will receive an MRI on Saturday after experiencing more pain in his injured right groin.
“It felt better with two days of rest and treatment,” said Gasol, whose 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting was offset with shaky defense. “We tried hard to make it feel better. I started doing certain moves and I aggravated it.”
Gasol has nursed this injury in recent weeks, but it took a turn for the worse when he missed the entire second half in the Lakers’ loss Tuesday to the Indiana Pacers. Gasol said his latest ailment all stems from the moderate strain in the big toe of his left foot. That injury has forced Gasol to compensate with his movement. Gasol also told this newspaper that he received extra treatment and new taping on Friday in hopes to reduce the pain on his toe.
“The tendon underneath my foot is still giving me some issues too,” Gasol said. “I’m playing with a tape job that may have changed my loads and made an issue with my groin. One thing is leading to the next one. I’ve been trying to play through it and do my very best. I don’t like to let my team down, especially when things are not going the right way or the way we’d like it to go.”
The Lakers received some news that Gasol described as “refreshing,” with both Steve Nash and Steve Blake making possible returns Tuesday in Minnesota. Nash has stayed sidelined since Nov. 10 because of persisting nerve issues in his back, while Blake hasn’t played since Dec. 10 because of a hyperextended elbow.
Still, that’s unlikely to offset the possible absence of Gasol, who has averaged 20.6 points on 50.9 percent shooting and 12.1 rebounds through 35.3 minutes through January.
“It definitely puts individuals in a position of duress,” Gasol said. “Guys aren’t used to playing as many minutes and positions that are out of their comfort. It puts pressure on different guys and it makes it more difficult. It is what it is. At this point, you can’t make excuses. We all have to step up and feel our best.”
Gasol hardly feels that way. Nor has he showed it. Despite his offensive proficiency, Gasol has remained a defensive liability. His passivity coupled with the Lakers’ perimeter players failing to help contributed toward Bobcats forward Al Jefferson posting 40 points on 18-of-32 shooting.
“There’s something going on,” Gasol said. “I’m aggravating it. That’s not good for anyone.”
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