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Pau Gasol progresses toward return, could be back next week

March 13, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Pau Gasol tweets that he's back in the training room.
Pau Gasol tweets that he's back in the training room. (Jim Mone / Associated Press )

After finally climbing back above .500, the Lakers may get Pau Gasol back soon to help bolster their playoff run.

Gasol's initial prognosis, after tearing the plantar fascia of his right foot, was a minimum of six to eight weeks for recovery.

Injured on Feb. 5 in a win against the Brooklyn Nets, Gasol has hit the five-week mark but could be back as early as next week.

On Tuesday, the veteran forward/center ran through his first on-court basketball drills. As long as he doesn't face any setbacks Wednesday, he'll continue to ramp up his activity.

While there isn't a concrete date yet, a reasonable guess would be the March 22 game against the Washington Wizards at Staples Center.

The Lakers have a busy schedule ahead with games Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and Monday followed by three days off before the Wizards on the following Friday.

Gasol should be able to get enough practice time in by then, assuming his foot continues to improve.

It's unclear whether Coach Mike D'Antoni will promote Gasol back to the starting lineup, even with Earl Clark's production sagging as of late.

Given the Lakers' recent run of success, D'Antoni may be more inclined to work Gasol in slowly -- continuing to use him off the bench.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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