Monday, April 4, 2011
Pau Gasol day to day
By Dave McMenamin
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers' twin towers in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum both suffered right knee injuries Sunday, causing a rush of terror through their fan base wondering what it could mean to L.A.'s three-peat hopes.
But there was calming news about their health coming out of practice Monday.
Gasol did not practice, using the time to receive treatment on his right knee and lift weights with his upper body, and reported he was improving. An MRI on Monday revealed a bone bruise, and the team said he was day to day.
Gasol was fouled early on in the third quarter of Sunday's 95-90 loss to Denver by Nuggets center Nene as he rose in the air towards the basket. Gasol fell to the court hard after the foul and his right leg briefly got stuck underneath his body, causing stress to his knee.
"I feel a little bit better than I did last night, which is a good sign," Gasol said. "I feel good about it. Obviously I'm not 100 percent sure, but we'll find out soon enough."
Gasol said he iced the knee Sunday night and is still experiencing swelling and stiffness, however. He would not commit to any plans to play against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday until he saw the results of the MRI.
"I'm planning on taking the MRI and hopefully get good news that the structure and ligaments are good and there's just a little bit of swelling from the jam and from the contusion," Gasol said. "In that case, I would be able to play."
Kobe Bryant suffered what he described as the "scariest" ankle sprain of his 15-year career earlier on in the season and did not miss any games. He tried to transfer some of his toughness to Gasol.
"He's fine," Bryant said. "Don't baby him. He's fine."
Bynum, who had limited participation in practice, reiterated what he said after the Lakers' 95-90 loss to the Nuggets, declaring Monday, "I'm alright. I'm good."
The 23-year-old center sat out the final 7:15 of the fourth quarter after Lamar Odom fell into his right knee after a missed shot. It was reminiscent of the way he injured the knee during the 2008-09 season when Bryant fell into him in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
"It looked crazy, right?" said Bynum. "I had the brace on, which is really I guess what saved it."
Bynum expects to play against Utah.
Lakers head coach Phil Jackson was asked if he's considered how the Lakers would juggle their lineup if Gasol and Bynum have to sit out.
"No, we haven't," Jackson said. "We're really optimistic about it."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.