LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Pau Gasol may be ready to return to the Lakers lineup by Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Gasol, who tore the plantar fascia in his right foot in early February, took part in a 4-on-4 scrimmage in practice on Wednesday. It was the first time he had done so since the injury. He said he will determine whether or not a Friday return is likely after he participates in a 5-on-5 scrimmage on Thursday.

“I feel confident,” Gasol told ESPN. “But we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves.”

Coach Mike D’Antoni suggests that Pau may play off the bench while he starts to get back in regular basketball shape.

Gasol breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday when an ultrasound revealed that his injury is healing correctly.

The return could not come soon enough. The Lakers are currently in a heated race for the final playoff spot with the Utah Jazz, who trail Los Angeles by one game. If things continue the way they are, the Lakers may find themselves holding off Utah for a few weeks, until the season ends on April 17.


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