Gasol returns after eight-game layoff

The Lakers were 3-5 in the forward's absence with tendinitis. He's got the green light to play without restriction against Charlotte tonight.

Pau Gasol returned Tuesday night from an eight-game absence as the Los Angeles Lakers host the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center.

Gasol, who struggled with knee tendinitis through most of the early part of the season, has been given the green light to play without restriction.

"The sky is the limit, 48 (minutes), if overtime 50," joked Gasol.

The Lakers have struggled in his absence, losing five of eight.

"It's been difficult," said Gasol of sitting out. "I had no other choice. It's for the better. Now I'm back, so hopefully I'll be able to help, and help a lot."

The Lakers and Gasol are hopeful he's past any knee problems this year.

"Not too concerned about it,' said Gasol about a possible recurrence.

Coach Mike D'Antoni warned that Gasol may need to catch up a little on his conditioning, but he's looking forward to getting his former All-Star back on the floor.

"He's one of the best big men in the league, without a doubt," said D'Antoni.

-Eric Pincus

Send feedback on our
new story page