As if the Lakers can absorb more bad news.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni suggested Pau Gasol won't return in the regular season after nursing torn plantar fascia in his right foot for the past three weeks.

"By the time he gets back, we'll be in or out," D'Antoni said. "His impact will be in the playoffs if we get there."

The Lakers (28-29) have 25 games remaining before the regular season ends April 17 against the Houston Rockets. After their 103-99 victory Sunday over the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers remain 2 games behind the Houston Rockets (31-27) for the eighth playoff spot.

"I don't think anyone on this team is counting the days for Pau to come back because we don't have time," Lakers guard Steve Nash said. "Although we'd welcome him back this instance, we have to move on and try to win games without him."

Gasol originally was expected to miss at least four to six weeks after suffering the injury in the final minutes of the Lakers' win Feb. 5 against the Brooklyn Nets. He expressed optimism last week he soon would walk without crutches.

"It's close," D'Antoni said. "He might be using them, just barely."

With the little regard he holds for Lakers fans, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hardly seemed surprised of the reaction over suggesting in a radio interview Friday that the Lakers use the amnesty clause on Kobe Bryant.

"That wasn't what I was looking to accomplish," Cuban said. "But it's always fun to hear Lakers fans respond to anything."
Instead, Cuban said he wanted to explain the ramifications surrounding the new collective bargaining agreement that imposes harsher luxury taxes this offseason for teams over the salary cap.