With Pau Gasol already injured, Kobe Bryant’s severely sprained ankle looked like it might leave the Los Angeles Lakers without two of their biggest stars for multiple weeks.
Now, it appears that both players could be good to go after the weekend.
L.A. has listed Bryant’s official status as “out indefinitely.” The prognosis doesn’t give much detail about when Bryant might return, but the shooting guard might not even miss one game. He’s listed as a "game-time decision" in the Lakers' Friday night game against the Indiana Pacers.
Bryant received treatment at Friday morning’s shootaround, but didn’t participate in walkthroughs with the team. On Thursday, the veteran described his ankle as “very swollen.”
Gasol hasn’t played in an NBA game since Feb.5, when he tore the plantar fascia in his right foot. His recovery time was initially listed as six to eight weeks, but the Lakers head coach thinks the seven-footer could be back earlier than expected.
At practice, head coach Mike D’Antoni said Gasol could be back on the court as early as Monday against the Phoenix Suns. Doing so would mean Gasol missed just less than six weeks of playing time.
In the seven games prior to Gasol getting injured, D’Antoni had played the big man off the bench. That may change soon, as the coach said he’d start Gasol once his condition is where it needs to be.
Gasol wasn’t as optimistic that he’d be ready by the end of the weekend. When asked if he would play on Sunday or Monday, the veteran responded “Or Friday.” There’s a chance he was referring to the matchup with the Pacers, but that doesn’t seem likely.
The Lakers could use all the help they can get in the final five weeks of the season. The club is just a half-game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.