The Los Angeles Lakers have been battling injuries for much of the season.
L.A.’s “Big Four” of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash have only played together in 17 of the team’s 69 games. Each player has missed time due to injury and the club is only the eighth seed in the West, as a result.
On Friday, though, it appears all of the Lakers stars will play together for the first time in almost two months. Both Bryant and Gasol are likely to be active as the Lakers host the Washington Wizards.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters that he expects both players to take the court. For Bryant, it will be his first action in a week. Gasol hasn’t played since Feb. 5.
Since spraining his ankle against the Atlanta Hawks, Bryant has been listed as day-to-day. He suited up in the first game after suffering the injury, but was forced to leave the contest after just 12 minutes. It was the only time all season that the shooting guard failed to score a single point.
The Lakers head coach said Bryant would probably practice on Thursday. He missed two games with the injury.
Gasol’s road back to the court has been much longer than his teammate’s. The seven-footer has sat out 20 games because of a torn plantar fascia in his right foot. He was initially scheduled to miss six to eight weeks.
On Wednesday, Gasol participated in a four-on-four scrimmage after practice. He will eventually make his way into the starting lineup, but might come off the bench for a few games.
The Lakers are hoping to have their full complement of stars for the final stretch run. They have 13 games left in the 2012-2013 NBA season, with a 1.5-game lead over the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot in the West.
Dwight Howard missed six games this season. Steve Nash sat out 23 games with a broken leg.
The Lakers have also been without a pair of key bench players due to injury. Steve Blake has missed 37 games, and Jordan Hill is expected to be sidelined until June.