Injuries have been a recurring theme all year long for the Lakers, and with four games remaining in the regular season, the return of Pau Gasol remains uncertain. Gasol has missed the last four games – eight of the last nine – because of vertigo and is being listed as doubtful for Friday’s game vs. Golden State.
“He’ll play if he can, but he has to be medically cleared,” D’Antoni said of Gasol’s status. “He and Gary (Vitti) will come to me if he can go, but I don’t think it’s clear right now whether he can go or not.”
Aside from Gasol, Steve Nash is also being listed as doubtful. Nash passed Mark Jackson for third all-time in assists in NBA history vs. Houston, but aggravated his nerve root irritation issues in the process. Nash said after the game that he doubts he’ll be able to return to action in the final four games.
Chris Kaman is still out with a calf injury, and Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry and Kent Bazemore have respectively been ruled out for the season. In total, the Lakers have missed 292 games due to injury/illness this season.
“I think the guys are going to play hard regardless,” Kaman said. “We’ve had some games where we’ve been in it and we’ve been really close lately. I think you’re going to see us battle the rest of the year.”
Although the Lakers have been hampered by numerous injuries, they did get Jordan Farmar back vs. Houston on Tuesday. Farmar had missed the last 11 games because of a strained groin and has also suffered hamstring tears on two separate occasions earlier in the season. He scored 15 points and dished out eight assists in his return, to go along with five boards, three steals and two blocks.
“I thought he played well,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He gives us a guy who can really score and puts a lot of heat on the defense.”
On the year, Farmar has been particularly efficient from beyond the arc as he currently ranks fourth in the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage at 45.8, trailing Kyle Korver (47.8), Pablo Prigioni (46.3) and Anthony Morrow (46.1). That mark would be a career high, besting his 44.0 clip set during the 2011-12 season in New Jersey.