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Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

It’s no secret the Lakers 11-14 start is, well… let’s just call it surprising. Just less than a third of the season is in the books, and you have to scroll down the western conference standings to even find the pre-season favorites at number 12.

Yesterday, the Lakers looked under their Christmas tree to find reports that Pau Gasol could play tonight against Charlotte (7:30pm PT). This morning, they may be finding another gift: Steve Nash, who has missed 23 games this season (and hasn’t even played for D’Antoni yet), is aiming for a Saturday return against Golden State. The two-time MVP went through a limited practice yesterday (Monday) and will continue to monitor his progress throughout the week.

Barring any major setbacks, this Lakers team may be close to full force by Christmas Day.

While the sky has been falling in L.A. for the past month, just imagine what would happen to any other team in the NBA had they lost their starting point guard (Nash), backup point guard (Blake) and starting forward (Gasol). Factor in a pair of coaching changes and a completely revamped roster, and suddenly those pieces of sky in your living room seem a little bit premature.

The most important piece to the Lakers championship puzzle is health. If the Lakers can find a way to get healthy (and stay healthy), there’s still plenty of time to turn things around.