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Mike D'Antoni 'expects' Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to play Friday

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Will Kobe and Pau return Friday?  (Getty Images)
Will Kobe and Pau return Friday? (Getty Images)

Mike D'Antoni told reporters on Wednesday that he "expects" Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to return Friday, when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Washington Wizards.

Bryant has missed several games with a severely sprained ankle he suffered at the hands of Atlanta's Dahntay Jones on March 13. Gasol has been out more than a month with a torn plantar fascia. He had talked about a possible return Monday but wasn't quite there. He has been practicing five-on-five. Gasol was non-committal and wants to see how the foot responds after consecuitive days of full practice.

The Lakers look to be getting healthy for the stretch run. They're in the eighth seed with a game on the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and just three games behind the Golden State Warriors for the sixth seed.

Bryant, age 34, is averaging 27.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists this season.

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