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Update: Pau Gasol practices, hopes to be ready for start of season

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Pau Gasol still isn't 100 percent. (USATSI)
Pau Gasol still isn't 100 percent. (USATSI)

Update: So much for that, Gasol practiced Sunday all but the last drill. Though he does say he won't ever be "100 percent" again.

They lost Dwight Howard. They had an underwhelming free agency. All the Lakers were really trying to focus on to start this season was to get healthy. Kobe Bryant has no timetable. Steve Nash is 100 percent but facing minutes restrictions. Pau Gasol had so many issues last year, surely he's... nope.

Pau Gasol said Saturday he will not be available for the start of training camp as he continues to recover from offseason procedures in both knees. However, the Los Angeles Lakers' big man believes he will be back in time for the regular season.

"We're going to get into practices and get a feel of how the knees react and get into training slowly," said Gasol, who was cleared by Dr. Steve Yoon of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic this week to continue to ramp up his workouts. "I haven't done really a lot of basketball stuff. I haven't done a lot of contact yet. So we'll see how it feels. But the goal is to be ready for opening night, and whichever way it takes to get there, that's what we're going to do."

Gasol, who missed 33 games last season because of various injuries, underwent a procedure known as the FAST technique (Focused Aspiration of Scar Tissue) in May to address the tendinosis in both of his knees.

"It wasn't fun," Gasol said. "It was a painful recovery at first. Then a week after I did the procedure I had to get the stem cells out of my back and shoot them up through my tendons. So that irritated them again. But a few weeks after that I was able to walk again and live a little bit of a normal life. But then I had to give time to the knees to recover and to absorb what I injected, so I had to wait until August to start working again. Then it's been good since then."

via Pau Gasol says he'll deliver at center for Los Angeles Lakers - ESPN Los Angeles.

This has to be concerning for Lakers fans. It sounds like no big deal on the surface. He's going to miss the start of camp, take it slow, make sure he gets healthy. But everything with Gasol has been nagging injuries that escalate and then break down. It was foot soreness that turned into a torn plantar fascia. It was knee soreness that eventually required surgery.

Maybe he'll be totally fine and have the kind of season a lot of people are projecting for him, but the 33-year-old hasn't been the same since the 2011 playoffs, and playing more center this season is only going to put more wear and tear on him. This definitely bears watching closely as the preseason progresses.

 
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