UPDATE: Marc Gasol is out for the Lakers in their Sunday game against the Atlanta Hawks, according to head coach Frank Vogel. He is cleared from the health and safety protocols, but hasn’t played or practiced in a while, so he is going to play 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 to build up his legs a bit before returning.
Original story continues below.
Marc Gasol was cleared to exit isolation and rejoin the Lakers prior to their Thursday win over the Charlotte Hornets, but he was still listed as out under the league’s coronavirus-related health and safety protocols for that game. On Friday, however, it appears that the team has cleared him to at the very least be available to play in their Saturday matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, as for the first time in 18 days, he is not listed on the team’s injury report.
Two-way contract player Kostas Antetokounmpo is also no longer listed as out under the health and safety protocols.
The Lakers do not have Marc Gasol ruled out for tomorrow's game. It appears he has cleared the protocols. pic.twitter.com/AsHP74I5Vb— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) March 20, 2021
Gasol only missed six games over his two-plus weeks out because the All-Star break fell in the middle of his absence, but because he missed so much time, Frank Vogel had said on Thursday that the Lakers would ease Gasol back in if they had to.
“Once he clears that we’ll make an evaluation as to whether he needs some time to get his legs back under him,” Vogel said.
Gasol, who is averaging 4.8 points on 3.8 shots and 4.1 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game — all career-lows — has started all 35 games he’s played for the Lakers this season, and Vogel has previously stated that Gasol will re-take his place in the starting lineup when he returns. 10-day contract player Damian Jones has started the last five games in Gasol’s absence after Montrezl Harrell asked to return to the bench following his first start of the season. The Lakers have gone to a more pick and roll heavy scheme over their four games since the All-Star break, and it will be interesting to see how they incorporate Gasol into their new attack.
It’s still not confirmed that Gasol will play, but him not even being listed on the injury report at all would seem to indicate he’ll at least get back out on the floor for some limited minutes as he tries to get his legs back under him after more than two weeks off the court. The Lakers tip off against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT.