News not so good on another star in the team who is struggling to prove his fitness.
Pau Gasol has indicated he has come through the Los Angeles Lakers pre-season better than expected and should hit the ground running.
The All-Star forward did have surgery on both of his knees during the off-season, and being on the wrong side of 30, questions were starting to be asked how many minutes he would play this season.
But Gasol himself said he was ready to help lead the side in the absence of Kobe Bryant and his figures also vouch for his.
He led in scoring (13.7 points) while chipping in 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in the preseason.
“I feel better than what I expected,” Gasol said ahead of the Lakers’ regular-season opener Tuesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I’m really happy with how I feel right now. Now it’s just a matter of we have a tough start, very demanding, a lot of games in a short period of time to start off. But hey, that’s what the NBA is about sometimes and you got to get through it.”
Gasol’s glowing personal endorsement of his own health is in stark contrast to the immediate future of point guard Steve Nash.
The former league MVP has looked a shadow of his former self as he struggled in averaging just 4.0 points and 3.6 assists in 18.4 minutes.
Earlier this year Nash said he in fact felt better after only playing 32 games last season due to various injuries, but coach Mike D’Antoni said he might have to put Nash in cotton wool for much of the season.
The Lakers have 19 back-to-back games this season, and the LA leader said he and he starting point man will need to take each as an individual case as to how he is feeling physically and mentally.
“It’s hard to make a definitive answer right now because if one of my other point guards tweaks his ankle, he’s playing,” D’Antoni said of Nash.
“If one guy has the sniffles, he’s playing. So, we’ll see how the team goes and we’ll see where we are — where we are in the schedule, where we are in the standings — and see how he does. But the idea is to cut down the number of games and keep the minutes consistent for him, but the number of games come down.”