Lakers Injury Update: Pau Gasol Could Return Next Week

After a sub-par start for the hyped Los Angeles Lakers, they might be seeing the end of the long tunnel. With Steve Nash looking to return next week, it seems as if Pau Gasol is ready to join him.

Tweets by two Lakers beat writers, Mark Medina and Mike Bresnahan, indicate a return for Pau Gasol as soon as the 18th in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. He is more likely to return, however, on the 22nd against the Golden State Warriors.

How Gasol is incorporated back into the Lakers team will be interesting to see. After being benched in multiple games during the fourth quarter, Gasol has shown his frustration with the coaching decisions. However, teams used his absence to their advantage with the "Hack-A-Dwight" tactic, sending the horrific free throw shooter to the line multiple times.

Gasol is in his twelfth NBA season with career averages of 18.5 points on 51.9% shooting, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game to go with 75.2% from the charity stripe.

Now compare those to his averages this season.

He averaging just 12.6 points on a mere 42% from the field, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game with 75.9% from the free throw line. However, he's only getting 3.4 free throw attempts per game, compared to 4 times a game last season and 6 times on average for his career. It's suffice to say this season has not been one of Gasol's better ones, and is likely a result of the new system being put into place.

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