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Lakers F Gasol expected to return for matchup versus Heat

Associated Press

1/16/2013 6:52:34 PM

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Pau Gasol expects to return from a concussion on Thursday night when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Miami Heat.

Gasol has missed five games since Denver's JaVale McGee accidentally elbowed him in the face. The 7-foot Spaniard is optimistic he's ready to play again after going through a short workout with his teammates Wednesday at the Lakers' training complex.

The Lakers (17-21) have won two straight heading into their visit from the defending NBA champions, but they're still facing an uphill climb in the second half of the season to make the playoffs.

Los Angeles' four biggest stars have played together only for short stretches of the season, and Gasol is eager to see how the Lakers can handle coach Mike D'Antoni's offence when they're all together again.