Pau Gasol: Lakers' Handling of Forward's Concussion Is Pleasant Sight

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 9, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers receives treatment after being cut on the nose in the game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on January 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  The Nuggets won 112-105.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers' treatment of Pau Gasol's concussion should be mirrored by every other team in the league. 

That's not to say what L.A. has done is a simple task. The temptation to rush Gasol back to the lineup must be at an all-time high.

With Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill also nursing injuries, Mike D'Antoni was forced to start Robert Sacre and Darius Morris on Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets.

Morris only played 17 minutes (mostly giving way to Jodie Meeks), and Sacre, who has spent most of the season either dancing on the bench or playing defense for the L.A. D-Fenders in the NBDL, played decently in 28 minutes of action. 

But it still resulted in an ugly 125-112 loss.

The Lakers are an absolute mess right now, but as the injuries pile up, they are learning that things can, in fact, still get much, much worse. 

Therein stands the reason to rush Gasol back. The veteran power forward has suddenly turned into "Marc's brother" this season with painfully inconsistent, sub-par (by his standards) play. But there's no question he would still give this team a desperately needed boost of size and depth. 

And it's not like professional athletes haven't played through concussions before. Most recently, Matt Slauson of the New York Jets told ESPN that he did just that in "2010 or 2011." (Weirdly, he couldn't remember the exact year.)

It would be easy for the Lakers to just fib a little in order to get their power forward back into the lineup. 

But that's clearly not how they are conducting business (via the Orange County Register's Kevin Ding):

I'm also told Pau is expected to play for Lakers on Friday night vs. OKC if he passes his concussion test Thursday. (He didn't pass today.)

— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) January 9, 2013

And that's as simple as it has to be. Pass the necessary test, you play. Don't pass, you sit. 

Concussions are no joke. They are certainly less frequent in basketball than they are in football, but they can be just as dangerous, especially down the road in life, if suffered multiple times. 

Despite the desperation to get Gasol back in the lineup, it's refreshing to see the Los Angeles Lakers playing by the rules during such a potentially serious situation.