The Lakers expect to have forward/center Pau Gasol return to their lineup Wednesday when they host the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.
Both Gasol and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said at today's practice that Gasol will probably play after missing nine games with a sprained left ankle. Jackson said if Gasol is ready to play, he will start.
Gasol participated in the entire practice today with the team and said he would watch for swelling overnight.
The Lakers are 5-4 in his absence and have dropped to the third in the Western Conference standings. The Lakers currently are in first place in the Pacific division with the same record (50-24) as the Phoenix Suns, but the Lakers have the tiebreaker.
Also, Lakers center Andrew Bynum ran on the court for the first time today since injuring his left knee in January. He is expected to resume traveling with the team soon, although no date has been penciled for his return.
The Lakers have eight games left in the regular season.