Jan 24, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol (16) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic power forward Glen Davis (11) defends during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 114-105. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers' Pau Gasol playing; Bobcats' Kemba Walker out Friday

pau gasol

Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol has been the one constant this season for the injury-ravaged Los Angeles Lakers.  That notion was set to take a dramatic turn when their center came up gimpy during Tuesday’s game vs. the Indiana Pacers.  Gasol has been afflicted by numerous ailments this season (back, knee, ankle, foot), but he’s only had to miss three games.  You can add a new body part to the list — the groin — which he said was the cause of his pain the past few days.  Luckily for fantasy basketball owners, Gasol is good to go Friday night and will be facing a Charlotte Bobcats team missing explosive young point guard Kemba Walker.

»  Gasol missed practice on Thursday, which probably caused fantasy owners to rush to the wire to pick up the likes of Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman.  Although Gasol is playing, one of those two (Hill) may still have decent value tonight.  Gasol didn’t start the second half of Tuesday’s game vs. the Pacers, but came back and still managed to play 36 minutes.  Even with Gasol’s presence, Hill (91 percent owned in ESPN.com leagues) was able to play 29 minutes, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season — his first since Dec. 29.  With Gasol most likely still feeling the effects of his groin pull, Hill could garner similar minutes to the 29 coach Mike D’Antoni gave him on Tuesday.  Ryan Kelly, the newest starting power forward for the Lakers, is also worth a look if he is still available in your league.  He won’t cause a rift in the time space continuum, but Kelly has been putting up solid numbers since entering D’Antoni’s starting lineup.  In six games as a starter, Kelly (99 percent available) is averaging 11.2 points, four rebounds and one three-pointer, while playing a fantasy-worthy 27.8 minutes per start.  The former Duke Blue Devil is worth adding based on his potential to score and hit threes.

»  On the other side of the ball, the Bobcats will be without Walker for the the sixth straight game.  Walker was averaging 18.7 points and 5.0 assists when he went down with a sprained ankle vs. the Heat on Dec. 18.  There was optimism that he would be able to play tonight after participating in practice this week, but he’s apparently suffered a setback in his recovery, keeping him out tonight, and possibly for a few more games.  Ramon Sessions (84 percent available) is the top add if he hasn’t already been scooped up in your league.  Sessions is averaging 13.8 points and 6.2 assists since taking over the starting gig, and will be facing a Lakers team that is 28th in fantasy basketball vs. opposing point guards.  Given how bad the Lakers are vs. point guards, Jannero Pargo (100 percent available) is worth a look in the deepest of leagues.  Pargo has quietly averaged 10.6 points in the five games Walker has been sidelined.  The Bobcats play again tomorrow and Tuesday, but will have no games after that till the following Saturday.  There’s a chance we could see Walker sit until then, which would allow him to get a full week’s rest.

Tags: Fantasy Basketball Kemba Walker Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol

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