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Lakers F Pau Gasol expects to return from concussion for LA's visit from the Miami Heat

  • 87fe56b3ef9ebd01260f6a706700b298.jpg

    Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard dunks during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (The Associated Press)

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    Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard dunks during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-88. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (The Associated Press)

  • c076637cef68bc01260f6a7067002b0d.jpg

    Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, right, blocks the shot of Milwaukee Bucks forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (The Associated Press)

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    Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, goes up for a shot as Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (The Associated Press)

Pau Gasol expects to return from a concussion on Thursday night when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Miami Heat.

Gasol has missed five games since Denver's JaVale McGee accidentally elbowed him in the face. The 7-foot Spaniard is optimistic he's ready to play again after going through a short workout with his teammates Wednesday at the Lakers' training complex.

The Lakers (17-21) have won two straight heading into their visit from the defending NBA champions, but they're still facing an uphill climb in the second half of the season to make the playoffs.

Los Angeles' four biggest stars have played together only for short stretches of the season, and Gasol is eager to see how the Lakers can handle coach Mike D'Antoni's offense when they're all together again.