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Lakers Lose Pau Gasol in Win Over Nets

pau gasolJust when the Los Angeles Lakers appeared to be in a groove and making a playoff push, they lose another key player, Pau Gasol, in Tuesday’s 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Gasol left after straining the plantar fascia in his right foot with 3:50 remaining in the game. The four-time All-Star, who used crutches to leave the Barclays Center, is scheduled to undergo an MRI after the Lakers arrive in Boston. Gasol told reporters he is very concerned.

“I was dealing with it, but that play when I tried to jump off of it and try go block the shot (by Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez), just as I took off, I felt a pop in the bottom of my foot on my fascia and I couldn’t get up,” Gasol said. “I’m worried about it.”

Gasol, who has been dealing with the injury for the past couple of months, said last week that the pain level was eight out of 10 in his right foot.

“But I never felt anything like I did tonight,” Gasol said. “Right now it’s a certain level of strain. We just don’t know how bad it is.”

Gasol attempted to play through the pain, but it was so excruciating after the Lopez block that coach Mike D’Antoni took him out the game and he headed to the locker room to be examined by Lakers trainer Gary Vitti. He finished with 15 points and four blocks.

The Lakers and Gasol are unsure of how long the injury may sideline him, but Gasol’s contribution is needed if the Lakers want to make the playoffs. They are 23-26 and sit in the 10th spot in the Western Conference standings.

“I’m very, very concerned about it,” Kobe Bryant said. “Obviously, we don’t know the extent or the severity of the injury yet. But I’m very, very concerned to say the least.”

Gasol has been hampered by injuries this season, missing 13 games due to tendinitis in both knees and a concussion.

With Gasol going down, the Lakers are hoping that center Dwight Howard may be able to go on Thursday against the Boston Celtics. Howard has missed the last three games with a sore right shoulder.

Howard refused to discuss whether he would play, but Bryant said that Howard will have to learn how to play through injuries.

“Not injuries that are debilitating, but injuries that you have to play through and you have to manage the pain,” Bryant said. “So when you go through those things, you learn your body and you know what you can push through and know what you can’t push through.”

Bryant led the Lakers Tuesday with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and one block. He may have to continue to carry the burden if Howard cannot return soon.

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