Pau Gasol should be back Thursday
By Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times
In his acting debut, Pau Gasol died of a brain injury as a character on Monday night’s episode of “CSI: Miami.”
He’ll soon be coming back to life in his other, more lucrative job.
Gasol is expected to return Thursday against the Chicago Bulls after sitting out 11 games because of a strained right hamstring.
“Sounds good to me,” he said Tuesday.
The Lakers’ forward-center shot with the team at Tuesday morning’s shoot-around and reported only a small amount of pain.
“A little sore here and there, but the good thing is the hamstring has responded well,” he said. “It’s really promising.”
Of course, Gasol’s recent improvement didn’t come without a round of ribbing from Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who finished a reporter’s question by sarcastically inserting the words “hypochondriac” and “baby” in reference to Gasol.
Jackson appeared to be joking . . . perhaps. Earlier, he was more serious about Gasol’s condition.
“He’s relatively close to being able to perform,” Jackson said. “He was in good shape [Tuesday].”
The injury news wasn’t so welcoming for Luke Walton.
The reserve forward will be out at least six weeks because of a pinched nerve in his back that has caused problems in the past, most recently a month ago during exhibition season.
“They said pretty much to just try to shut it down and get all the swelling out of there,” Walton said Tuesday. “Hopefully, this time will be the end of it when I come back.”
The Lakers aren’t expected to make any roster moves to account for Walton’s absence. In fact, Jackson said Friday that the Lakers were “overloaded” at small forward.
Ron Artest will continue to get the bulk of the minutes at the position, and Kobe Bryant will slide over to small forward at times. There could also be more playing time for Adam Morrison.
“We’ll solicit some moments from Adam out there, give him a shot at performing,” Jackson said. “But Luke’s a guy that could do special things. If the ball wasn’t moving and you needed some penetration and a pass, he’s one of my favorite guys to go in there and do some things team-wise to help the team move forward.”
Gasol was part of “CSI: Miami” for about 10 minutes before getting killed off by a wicked car crash.
Gasol, who owned a video-game company in the episode, walked away from the accident and pulled a boy out of the back seat of the other car but died shortly thereafter because of brain trauma that originally went undetected.
“It was challenging, it was fun to be on a big-time show,” Gasol said. “I’m proud of the job that I did.”
He didn’t last very long, though.
“At first, the idea of dying didn’t really make me very excited, but I wasn’t totally against it,” Gasol said. “It was all good. Just to be part of the show was pretty unbelievable.”
Jackson had his own take on the episode, jokingly saying it caused Gasol’s real-life hamstring woes.
“I’m sure that’s where he got his injury . . . racking his head around [in the car accident],” Jackson said.