An MRI taken on Saturday shows that Pau Gasol has a strained right groin and will sideline him for at least one week. According to the Lakers’ timetable, Gasol would sit out the team’s three-game trip with stops in Minnesota (Tuesday), Cleveland (Wednesday) and Philadelphia (Friday). The Lakers then plan to revaluate him after the Lakers return in hopes he could return next Sunday against Chicago at Staples Center.
Chris Kaman has mostly sat on the bench this season because of Mike D’Antoni’s preference for a smaller lineup and his belief that Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly are superior defenders. But Kaman, whose MRI on a sore right knee came out negative, will likely start. Kaman has averaged 11.8 points on 46.4 percent shooting and 9.2 rebounds through 24.2 minutes in five games as a starter, three of which coincided with Gasol sitting because of an upper respiratory infection.
The Lakers (16-31) had hoped they’d stop keeping their trainer’s room full, providing hope that the possible return of guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake Tuesday in Minnesota would help bring life to a floundering team that has lost six consecutive games and 18 of their last 21 contests.
Instead, the Lakers lose another powerful presence. Gasol has averaged 20.8 points on 51 percent shooting and 11.9 rebounds through 15 games in January. But Gasol has been plagued recently both with inconsistent defense and various health ailments.
Gasol has nursed a groin injury in recent weeks, but it took he said it worsened when he missed the entire second half in the Lakers’ loss Tuesday to the Indiana Pacers. Gasol also attributed his groin injury to 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.
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