Pau Gasol has missed the last four games for the Los Angeles Lakers with knee tendinitis. He has been battling the injury all season long, and it seems to be limiting his production. He has been the source of relentless trade rumors all season because of his reduced productivity. Despite all this, he will be back in the starting lineup when he returns from the injury.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, coach Mike D'Antoni says Gasol will be back in the starting lineup when his knee is healthy enough for him to play. D'Antoni wants to see Steve Nash and Gasol on the court together at the same time, so it would seem Gasol will have at least until Nash's return to relish in a starting role.
"Not yet, that's not what we need to be doing right now," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said of the possibility of using Gasol in a sixth man role. "We need to find him and Steve in there together and look at it and make a good assessment. I envision him being really good at what he does at the four, so I don't see that."Gasol is averaging just 12.6 points per game this season. It's the lowest average of his career, and it could be related to the knee issue. However, Gasol's production drop could be a result of his age. The Lakers seem to have become frustrated with Gasol regardless of the reason for his diminished output.
D'Antoni, while saying he wants to see Gasol and Nash play together, has made no secret of his desire for a forward who can shoot the three. There are options the Lakers may be able to pursue via trade, but it seems they will stick with Gasol for now.