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Pau Gasol 'unlikely' to return to play for Lakers this season

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Gasol most likely won't return to play this season. (USATSI)
Pau Gasol most likely won't return to play this season. (USATSI)

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It's been a rough season for the Los Angeles Lakers with their injuries and Pau Gasol, who was hoping to reverse the bad fortunes of last year with a bounce-back season. In the final year of a three-year, $57 million extension that paid him over $19 million this season, Gasol was hoping to show he can still contribute for a playoff-caliber team and be a big part of their success. That didn't even come close to happening. The latest malady for Gasol is vertigo, which has kept him out of eight of the previous nine games for the Lakers.

It will likely keep him out of the final four games of the regular season as well. Gasol told ESPN Los Angeles that it is "unlikely" he's able to play again in the 2013-14 season, despite still wanting to get out there. He's on a day-to-day basis and undergoing therapy for the vertigo, but the symptoms still persist.

After missing seven of the last eight games because of symptoms stemming from a bout of vertigo, Lakers forward Pau Gasol conceded that his season may be over.

"It's unlikely," Gasol told ESPNLosAngeles.com following the Lakers' 145-130 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday when asked if he would play in any of the four remaining games this season. "But, I want to."

Gasol said he was still undergoing therapy, including an exercise where he rapidly circles his neck to intentionally make himself dizzy to train his body to be able to return to a stable state. He is being re-evaluated on a daily basis by the team's medical personnel.

The Lakers are already without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Kent Bazemore, and Xavier Henry for the rest of the season. In 60 games this season, Gasol was the second leading scorer on the team with an average of 17.4 points (just behind Nick Young's team-leading 17.5 points per game) and the leading rebounder at 9.7 per contest. It was the start of a nice bounceback season for the Spanish big man after playing 49 games the previous season and averaging 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds.

The team has clinched its worst record since the team moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1960. The previous worst for the Los Angeles Lakers was the 30-52 campaign in the 1974-75 season. One more loss for the Lakers will give them the most losses in franchise history, whether in Minneapolis (they didn't always play 82-game seasons) or Los Angeles. The Lakers have two more games at home against the Warriors and Grizzlies before heading on the road to Utah and San Antonio to finish out the season.

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