Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol has been gearing up for a return to the court on Friday and expects to play limited minutes when the team takes on the Washington Wizards at Staples Center on Friday night.
“I expect to play limited minutes,” Gasol said at the Lakers’ practice facility on Thursday following his first full scrimmage since sustaining the injury. “I was hoping (to play a full allotment of minutes) but maybe it’s not the smartest thing to do at this point. There’s only so much amount of load that you should take early on”
Gasol has been out since Feb. 5 when he sustained the initial plantar fascia tear in a win vs. the Brooklyn Nets. Last week, he suffered a minor setback when he experienced soreness in the right foot, but now appears poised to return and give the Lakers a much-needed lift on Friday after Thursday’s session.
“We played 5-on5, which was refreshing to me,” he added. “It was nice to be out here and the whole group was playing so it was fun.”
The Lakers are 36-33 and in sole possession of the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoffs. With 13 games remaining, it’s critical that they have everyone healthy for as many of the remaining games as possible.
In 36 games during the 2012-13 season, Gasol has averaged 13.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per contest. He’ll be significant addition to the depleted frontcourt upon his return. Given those facts, the Spaniard understands the urgency the Lakers have to play with down the stretch.
“We have to get ourselves ready for the last few games of the season and going into the playoffs,” he added.
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