Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are expected to return from their respective injuries on Friday when the Los Angeles Lakers face the Washington Wizards.

"Hopefully Kobe and Pau will be back Friday — hopefully," Mike D'Antoni said.

D'Antoni made it clear that Gasol will be eased into the starting lineup but when it does happen, the coach is adamant Gasol will play a major role in the Lakers' late-game rotation.

"I don't know if it's the first game or the third game, but [Gasol is] going to start. He's going to finish games," D'Antoni said. "We can't do anything in the playoffs without Pau being comfortable and 100%."