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Lakers’ Pau Gasol To Return Thursday Against Heat, Will Not Start

It looks like the Lakers are getting their other big man back for Thursday’s huge game against the Miami Heat. Here’s Mike Trudell from Lakers.Com and Time Warner Cable Sportsnet.

So the Lakers are going to be at full strength at the front court. Well, as full as they can possibly be at this point. Back-up big man Jordan Hill is out for the season. Dwight Howard just recently returned from a shoulder injury and Pau Gasol has been out for the last five games due to a concussion.

As mentioned, Pau Gasol will not start. Earl Clark, who has been playing well as of late, will get the starting nod once again at power forward. But so far, it hasn’t been mentioned that Gasol will lose his starting spot in the long-term; it’s a matter of conditioning for Gasol.

Pau Gasol, like the whole Los Angeles Lakers squad, is having an interesting (yet down) season. He’s averaging 12.2 points and 8.4 boards while shooting a dismal .416 from the field (he shoots .518 for his career). The Lakers have gone 5-8 without Gasol and are 17-21 overall. Gasol has been subject to trade rumors ever since Phil Jackson left town and has had trouble adjusting to Mike D’Antoni’s system, as D’Antoni prefers to have his big men on the perimeter (whereas Kobe has been emphatic about Pau Gasol being on the post).

It remains to be seen whether Pau Gasol will still be a Laker when the trade deadline (which is on February 21) passes.

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Rey Moralde is a Southern California native who has a passion for basketball, old-school video games, sushi, and terrible pop music.

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