Lakers News: Pau Gasol’s Return Will Be Just the Boost LA Needs

Pau Gasol's definite return against the Charlotte Bobcats simply could not come at a better time for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The forward has sat out the past eight games for the Lakers due to knee tendinitis, and whilst he could earn another four days rest should he skip Tuesday's game against the Bobcats, Gasol and the Lakers' medical staff felt he was good to go keen to play against the Bobcats.

Mike D'Antoni says @paugasol will start tonight. He responded well to practice yesterday. LAL were 3-5 w/out Gasol.

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 18, 2012

Gasol spoke about the return from his injury after the team's shootaround at practice on Monday, and told ESPN:

It's been two weeks—it's been a while. I miss playing and I miss being out there and competing with my team.

My knees are not in pain as they were. So if there's no need to miss another game, I won't miss another game...

The news comes as a huge boost for LA, who have struggled mightily so far this season—currently sitting a remarkable 12th in the Western Conference with an 11-14 record to date, something that few would have predicted at the start of the season.

Gasol's numbers have been reduced under new coach Mike D'Antoni so far this year, but his presence at both ends of the court will be definitely welcomed by the Lakers, who have now won consecutive games with road wins over the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers.

His return will likely signal a decline in minutes for star guard Kobe Bryant, who has averaged 42 minutes in his past six appearances.

However, what will be the most telling in Gasol's return is whether or not he can justify himself in and around the post again, with Dwight Howard proving to be the go-to man this season whilst the Spaniard struggles to find his place in D'Antoni's up-tempo system.

D'Antoni was coy in answer...

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