Gasol to play through foot pain against Portland

December, 28, 2012
12/28/12
1:29
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- After recently shutting it down for eight games to rest his aching knees, Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol isn't about to go back to the sidelines while dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Gasol will play Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers, a day after undergoing an MRI on his right foot that confirmed the injury.

"It's something that’s been going on," Gasol said of the injury that has been hurting the arch in his right foot for weeks. "I just wanted to make sure it was nothing else than what we guessed, which is fasciitis. Just make sure that the bones were good, that it was not really a tear. There’s soreness but so far we’ve been managing the pain. It’s manageable."

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said the team has been aware of his condition and does not anticipate limiting Gasol's minutes against Portland.

"He’s been battling this the whole time," D'Antoni said. "We’ll watch him, obviously, but he’s OK -- it just flares up so we got to be careful about it."

D'Antoni said Jordan Hill, not Antawn Jamison, would be the beneficiary of minutes should Gasol's workload need to be cut down.

Gasol would not go as far to say that he would definitely not miss any games because of the foot. He continues to treat it by wearing orthotics in his sneakers during games, a splint on his foot at night and through icing and stretching the arch of his foot.

"It's always day by day," Gasol said. "I mean, it's a fun thing, right? It keeps it interesting for you guys."

Gasol said the pain in his foot spiked on Thursday, causing him to seek out the MRI just to make sure there weren't any other undiscovered injuries. Earlier in his career he had plantar fasciitis in his left foot which led to a stress fracture in his leg.

Lakers center Dwight Howard said the team will need Gasol with four straight games at Staples Center coming up -- Portland, Philadelphia, an "away" game against the Los Angeles Clippers and a rematch with Denver.

"I think Pau will push through it," Howard said. "We got to get these games coming up at home."

Gasol recently missed eight games due to tendinitis in both knees before returning to the court on Dec. 18 against the Charlotte Bobcats.

"The knees are better than they were before," Gasol said. "They've not been as limiting as it was before."

Gasol, who is averaging a career low 12.6 points per game on 42 percent shooting this season, has five or more assists in all four games since his return and has also started to show his 3-point stroke, with three made 3s in his last two games. He seems to be finally finding a niche in D'Antoni's offense.

"We practice them more now," Gasol said. "It's a shot that I see is going to come, that I'm going to have available in the games due to my positioning so I might as well work on it and try to make it, right? I'll take what I can get."

The New York and Denver games mark the first time in Gasol's career since the 2003-04 season that the big man hit at least one 3-pointer in consecutive games.

"It's not going to happen every night, obviously, but if I get two or three attempts and I make a couple, then I might be able to feel good enough to shoot a couple more," Gasol said. "We'll see. It's not a shot that I want to take a whole lot, but it's a shot that I can make."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0