Gasol out Friday, Nash hopes to practice

WASHINGTON — Pau Gasol will not play Friday against the Washington Wizards, missing his seventh consecutive game because of knee tendinitis.

The Lakers are 1-5 without Gasol, who is averaging 12.6 points and shooting 42 percent.

Gasol hasn’t talked to reporters in several days, briefly telling The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that his ailing knees remain “an enigma.”

The Lakers (9-14) have lost six of their last seven games, including a 116-107 defeat Thursday at New York.

Washington (3-16) hasn’t done much damage this season, though the Wizards beat Miami earlier this month.

The Lakers lost to a similarly bad Cleveland team Tuesday, 100-94.

They complete a four-game road trip Sunday at Philadelphia. Gasol’s status is questionable at best for that game.

Itching for Nash
Now more than ever, the eyes of Lakers followers turn to Steve Nash.

He missed his 21st game Thursday, but offered a ray of hope in a wildly overcast season. He said he would “hopefully” start practicing next week.

“I’m definitely getting better,” said Nash, who started running and progressively increased his shooting workouts. “If I continue to improve and there’s no setbacks, then I should be able to practice next week.”

Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni was optimistic enough to say there were “flickers at the end of the tunnel.”

“We’re getting closer,” he said.

The Lakers have three games next week: Sunday at Philadelphia, Tuesday at home against Charlotte and Dec. 22 at Golden State. Nash has said all along he would need a practice or two to get a feel for the game he has missed since being kneed in the leg by Portland guard Damian Lillard on Oct. 31.

It was unclear whether the Lakers would practice Monday after flying home late Sunday from Philadelphia. After Tuesday’s game, however, there are three possible days of practice before they play Golden State.

Nash has been sidelined because of a fracture in his lower left leg, and the Lakers could use him sooner rather than later.

“We’re treading water,” Nash said, adding that the Lakers were “losing ground.”

He noticed the stagnant nature of the offense, not to mention the rampant turnovers, but doesn’t want to take credit before even checking into a game.

“If I come back and we take off, by no means am I the savior,” he said.

Nash hasn’t missed this many games in a row since sitting out 22 in 1999 because of an ankle injury.

–Mike Bresnahan