Lakers’ Pao Gasol smiles a a young fan in the front row as he waits for a freethrow against the Denver Nuggets at the Staple Center in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2014. 1st half.
(Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)
Pau Gasol stepped out of the Lakers’ practice facility with a stoic demeanor.
He will sit out when the Lakers (25-54) host the Memphis Grizzlies (47-32) at Staples Center, marking the 10th game in the past 11 contests he will miss because of vertigo. Gasol will travel with the Lakers for the last two games in Utah (Monday) and San Antonio (Wednesday), but it’s very well possible he won’t play again this season. Gasol also is aware he may never wear a Lakers uniform again considering he plans to test the free agency waters beginning in July.
“It’s always difficult not to be able to play, especially in the situation we’re in and the possibilities this offseason,” Gasol told this newspaper. “I would’ve loved to be able to play no matter what. But it’s hard to at this point. The season has been difficult.”
Gasol first experienced symptoms three weeks ago in the Lakers’ win over Orlando before missing the second half and being taken to a hospital after having three bags of intravenous fluids pumped into him. Gasol nearly returned a week later in the Lakers’ loss to Portland, where he looked noticeably sluggish, posting nine points on 4 of 9 shooting, four rebounds and seven assists. Gasol reported his health declining the next day in Sacramento. Gasol had completed his daily ritual of who rotating his head and eyes in a spinning motion to simulate dizziness before his symptoms resurfaced.
“I felt worse. I started doing my regular exercises and routine and my system was overwhelmed and overloaded,” said Gasol, . I had to lay down and everything was spinning again. I aggravated my situation by trying to come back too soon, too fast.”
Since then, Gasol has sat out for the past five games, completed an individual workout on Thursday, taken antibiotics and continued his spinning exercises.
“It’s been a slow process and frustrating. I was hoping I’d be able to recover and be back to normal a lot quicker,” Gasol said. “I started to find out from people who got in touch with me that it’s going to take a while. It’s not easy to recover from and it could be a bigger issue than people might think.”
The Lakers also field other injuries. Both Steve Nash (nerve irritation in back) and Chris Kaman (strained right calf) will not play against Memphis. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni reported Jordan Hill feeling a migraine, though he is expected to play.
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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org