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Back with a Pau

Dose: Clash of the Titans

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We saw the best NBA game of the year as titans of the West clashed in San Antonio and Big Wednesday brought …

Kobe Bryant seems to realize that this severe ankle sprain isn't just something he can go Mamba on. He can't just rub some dirt on it and will his way back onto the court. Not this time.

As evidenced by Bryant's claims that Dahntay Jones purposefully slid under him on a fadeaway Wednesday night, the Mamba fears something is really wrong. The Lakers did not practice Thursday and therefore did not provide an official update, but a source has told ESPN Los Angeles that Kobe's chances of playing on Friday or Sunday are "not good."

Doubting Kobe's ability to play through injury is downright silly. I'm going to do it anyway. Earl Clark (who expects to play through an ankle sprain of his own), Jodie Meeks and Metta World Peace are all worth plug-n-plays for the foreseeable future. Kobe's 20.7 shots per night have to go somewhere.

On the other side of the spectrum, Pau Gasol is on the mend from his torn plantar fascia. He's not going to play this Friday, but next Friday's game against the Wizards is a very realistic target date. Gasol is currently seven weeks into a 6-8 week timetable, so this shouldn't be a surprise.

What is a surprise is that Gasol will return as the starting power forward. Remember that before he went down, coach Mike D'Antoni was saying he sees Pau as a backup center and that he didn't like playing Dwight Howard and Gasol together. Now, D'Antoni reportedly doesn't want to cause any distractions, so he's going to start Gasol and bring Earl Clark off the bench.

Make sure Pau isn't floating on your waiver wire.

Carmelo Anthony was not with the Knicks for Thursday's game in Portland. Instead, he was in New York to get his troublesome right knee drained.

Knee drains often provide short-term relief, but rarely solve long-term issues. Jason Richardson is a recent example of repeated knee drains that ended up in season-ending surgery. That's not to say that Melo's case is as severe, but these words don't instill confidence.

"It started tightening up, started stiffening up. Some movements that I couldn't make, movement laterally, felt like I didn't have no pop, no power," Anthony said after Wednesday's game.

Carmelo is expected to fly back across the country this weekend and rejoin his team in time for Sunday's game against the Clippers. He's listed as questionable. It's foolish for the Knicks or fantasy owners to project any timetables right now.

* Shawn Marion's calf injury is a growing concern. The Mavs thought he'd be showing improvement by now and he's not. Thursday marked his fourth straight game out.
* Chris Kaman can't guard anyone and neither can Dirk Nowitzki. So they can't play together. We know who's going to get their minutes slashed there, and his name rhymes with Blis Samin.
* Trying to predict production among Spurs' Tony Parker backups? Just give up. Cory Joseph played just 13 minutes Thursday as it was Gary Neal's turn to go off for 16 points. Note that Neal played seven minutes on Tuesday.

* Tyson Chandler's knee contusion is not considered serious, but he did not play Thursday. Of course, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire were both out. So check out this starting lineup: Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Chris Copeland, Kurt Thomas and Kenyon Martin. Painful. None of the Knicks geriatric crew is capable of playing enough minutes to trust in fantasy.
* LaMarcus Aldridge played through migraines without issue. He finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.

Tony Parker (ankle) has resumed running on a treadmill. A return sometime next week is possible. ... Rudy Gay (back) is going to keep gutting it out for now, but the general feel around him is bad right now. ... Kirk Hinrich (foot) is headed for a game-time call Friday. Nate Robinson owners need to be watching closely. ... Derrick Rose's return still isn't imminent. ... Joe Johnson (heel) didn't practice Thursday, but is fully expected to play Sunday. ... Byron Mullens' knee, ankle and back issues have crippled his season. I've moved on in all spots. .. Caron Butler (elbow) could be back sooner than expected. Bad news for those of us that scooped up Matt Barnes. ... Eric Bledsoe (calf) is out indefinitely. Even handcuffers can move on. ... Brandon Knight (ankle) is out indefinitely. Rodney Stuckey is definitely worth a look.

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