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Fri, 30 Nov 2012 01:30 AM EST

L.A Lakers forward Pau Gasol has been playing thru tendinitis in both knees, a condition which has influenced the 4-time All-Star’s performance.

“It was just something that started flaring up in the preseason,” Gasol said after practice. “I didn’t want to stop, and I do not really want to stop now. I do not have that luxury.”

The tendinitis is more prevalent in his left knee, but Gasol started wearing straps on both knees this season as a preventative measure. The pounding Gasol’s legs took during previous coach Mike Brown’s long practices may have contributed to the pain’s endurance, according to a source with knowledge of Gasol’s thinking.

“It’s been bothering me for a while, but again, you play through it and try and keep it under control,” Gasol asserted. “It’s a little limiting, but it’s what it is. There’s not very much I can do about it.”

A 12-year veteran, Gasol declared that the tendinitis has affects his “explosiveness” as well as his jumping ability, quickness and overall athleticism. He said he didn’t believe the condition of his knees would make him miss any games, however.

“It’s been under control, more or less,” Gasol said. “Hopefully it won’t force me to miss games, unless I feel a bit like my percentage of performance is way down and I just can’t do that to myself or to the team.” NFL betting lines

After a successful summer playing for the Spanish national team at the London Olympic Games and the sting of being dangled in the failed Chris Paul trade firmly in his rearview mirror, many assumed Gasol was in store for a bounceback season in 2012-13.

But that hasn’t been the case, as Gasol is putting up career-low numbers in points per game (13.4) and shooting accuracy (43.4%), while also having his rebounds (10.4 to 9.1), helps (3.6 to 3.4) and blocks (1.4 to 1.3) per game averages take a dip from last season.

Things came to a head last week when Gasol totaled just 8 points and 9 rebounds in a loss to Sacramento Kings, followed by 6 points and 4 rebounds in a loss to Memphis — a game in which he was benched during the 4th quarter.

Gasol’s conditioning lately was called into question by teammate Kobe Bryant. New coach Mike D’Antoni also was blunt about Gasol’s benching, telling reporters he left him on the sideline because he needed to win the game.

Gasol played in 65 of the Lakers’ 66 games last season and all 82 games of 2010-11.

The 32-year-old Gasol played better in the Lakers’ win over the Mavericks on Saturday, totaling 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting along with 9 rebounds and th3ree assists in just 28 minutes.

“It tells me what I know about him,” D’Antoni related. “He’s a great guy. He’s a great competitor. He’s got a fantastic career — he’s had one and will have one. I did not have any doubts.

“It’s just a case of clarifying and getting everyone knowing what we want as coaches and getting all the frustrations out, and he did … I would be surprised if he responded in any other way.”

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