Sports Out West

Pau Gasol injury update: Lakers’ big man likely to return Friday vs. Thunder

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol underwent concussion testing on Tuesday and appears likely to return to action on Friday vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register

He will undergo a second test on Thursday and is expected to be cleared to play at that time barring a setback. He will miss the upcoming road trip on Tuesday and Wednesday vs. the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. 

Gasol suffered a concussion during Sunday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets after taking an elbow to the head from JaVale McGee. He was forced out of the game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be just a bloody nose, but was diagnosed with a concussion following the game. Rookie Robert Sacre will get the start at center while Gasol and fellow big man Dwight Howard are out with injury. 

The Spaniard has struggled to find his way in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s new system, finding himself with the ball outside of the low block more often, away from his comfort zone in the low post. In 25 games in 2012-13, Gasol has averaged 12.2 points and 8.4 rebounds, well below his career averages of 18.5 and 9.2. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.