Lakersí Gasol out, Howard game-time decision vs. Cavs
“I told the team, the biggest thing is our season starts Sunday,” said Mike D’Antoni. “We’ve got to make a run. We’ve got one shot at it, and everybody needs to get ready mentally and physically.”
But if the Los Angeles Lakers hope to turn things around at this point in the season, they will have to do it without Pau Gasol and possibly Dwight Howard. The Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol has been ruled out with a concussion while Dwight Howard has been listed a game-time decision for Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Pau Gasol suffered the concussion upon receiving an elbow to the head by center JavAle McGee in last week’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. Although Pau Gasol did some light shooting and elliptical exercises Sunday morning, he hasn’t been medically cleared to play Sunday night when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center. Pau Gasol will miss his fourth consecutive game since sustaining the head injury.
On the other hand, Dwight Howard initially sustained a shoulder injury the 107-102 loss to the Angeles Clippers on 4th January. But the injury didn’t start bothering him until next game against the Denver Nuggets. An MRI scan revealed a tear in the labrum shoulder, forcing Dwight Howard to the sidelines. Dwight Howard has performed conditioning exercises throughout the week, while also working out with strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco. But the 27-year-old Dwight Howard doesn’t want to return too early and aggravate the injury, ultimately forcing him to undergo shoulder surgery. Dwight Howard will be re-evaluated after warm-up for Sunday’s game.
The Los Angeles Lakes have gone 0-3 so far with a depleted frontcourt, and since Jordan Hill was sidelined with a season-ending hip injury that will require surgery. Though rarely-used reserve Earl Clark stepped up with averages of 12.3 points and 10.6 rebounds in 28.66 minutes per game performances during the past three games, he’s hardly a long-term solution for the latest scenario.
The Cleveland Cavaliers (9-20) had a difficult season themselves; but won their first matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers this season while Pau Gasol also sat out that game with knee tendinitis.
Without Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers will face great difficulty at offensively limiting Cleveland Cavaliers guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Kobe Bryant could see his role increased on the defensive side, going one-on-one against Kyrie Irving, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers with 28 points in their last contest against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Still, if the Los Angeles Lakers hope to bounce back, now just the time to make an attempt at saving the season.