Sore back keeps travel weary Gasol out of Lakers' game Sunday at Wizards Print
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Sunday, 03 February 2008 09:29
NBA Headline News

 WASHINGTON (AP) -Pau Gasol sat out the Los Angeles Lakers' game at the Washington Wizards on Sunday, not quite ready to play for his new team because of a sore back, a whirlwind 48 hours and an unfamiliarity with the triangle offense.
``We want him to practice first. He traveled back and forth across the country, up all night, short hours of sleep. This isn't a fair situation for him,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before Sunday's game.
``We'll practice tomorrow and see how he feels,'' Jackson said. ``Play with the guys before we have him going into an NBA game with the 'Showtime' thing.''
Gasol, the 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year and a 2006 All-Star, averaged 18.9 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Memphis Grizzlies this season, his seventh with the team.
The Spaniard missed three of four games because of a bad back before Friday's trade. The Grizzlies got Kwame Brown, rookie Javaris Crittenton, two first-round draft picks, cash and the rights to Gasol's brother Marc. The Lakers also received Memphis' 2010 second-round draft pick.
``I didn't see it coming. I didn't know anything about it,'' Gasol said. ``I'm trying to digest everything that's been going (on) with me the last two days, and get ready to rock and roll.''
He wore jeans and a black zippered sweater for a brief news conference at the Wizards' arena - the first three minutes were in Spanish, the next four in English - then went to the visiting locker room to change.
Moments later, Gasol was out on the court for some shooting and low-post drills, wearing a purple T-shirt and purple shorts and standing a few feet from Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
Asked whether this deal will put an end to the talk about whether Bryant would be traded, Jackson replied: ``It depends on how well it works. ... It will give us a more complete game, a more fluid game. Kobe sees that it will give us some opportunities to come back in games.''
Gasol went from a Memphis team that was 13-34 entering Sunday to a Los Angeles team that went into the game at Washington with a 29-16 record.
``The pressure of winning and being one of the favorites, I think, is what you want to be involved in,'' he said. ``That's the kind of pressure I've been missing being in the NBA. I love that.''
The Lakers hope he can help them overcome recent injuries to frontcourt players, including blossoming center Andrew Bynum.
``Pau gives us a strength in the post. If Andrew becomes healthy again this year, it will give us a double post. We'll have the biggest front line in the West. That could be a factor,'' Jackson said. ``It's a great patch in the hole. It's a great way to shore up some of the things that were bothering us, that hurt us last year.''
 

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