Lakers News: Pau Gasol's Return Is Key to Lakers' Postseason Chances

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIFebruary 13, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29:  Pau Gasol #16 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk during the game with the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on January 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. . The Lakers won 111-106.  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)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

What's lost in all of the drama surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers is the fact that the team is actually playing much better. The Lakers have won seven of 10, but you wouldn't know it judging by the amount of negative press surrounding the team.

Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard's relationship is getting more attention than their play on the court (

Even with their recent resurgence, they can't hope to make any noise in the postseason without a healthy Pau Gasol. With that being said, the team recently received a boost when they learned Gasol would not need surgery to repair his torn plantar fascia (Los Angeles Times).

As a result, he will only miss six to eight weeks of action.

He was playing well as a sixth man, and he provides the team insurance in the event Dwight Howard is sidelined again.

Before he was injured, he had averaged 20 points and 8.6 rebounds in a three-game stretch as a starter while Howard nursed his injured shoulder.

Prior to Howard going down with his most recent injury, Gasol had averaged 13 points and 7.1 rebounds as a reserve. The Lakers were finding their groove with the new rotation, and beginning to look like a dangerous team.

Bryant was facilitating and getting others involved. However, ever since Gasol went down, things have begun to revert a bit. They lost a close game in the American Airlines Arena against the defending champion Miami Heat on Sunday, but there is no shame in that—especially without Gasol.

One can only wonder how the big man might have impacted that contest.

The Lakers have a tough road ahead of them to catch the Houston Rockets or the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference standings, but they can't hope to do that without Gasol. 

The team is only 6-10 in games he's missed this season.

When Gasol is healthy, the Lakers are the only team with a significant offensive and defensive post presence in the starting lineup and reserve unit. Dwight, Kobe and Steve Nash must keep the team afloat in the meantime.

The Lakers have dug themselves a hole, and they need the full complement of their weapons to dig themselves out.

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