They're back.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are expected to return to the lineup for today's home game against Washington.

Bryant missed the past two games because of a severe left ankle sprain and flu, and Gasol has missed 20 games with a foot injury.

"Right now I'm just looking forward to playing some, at whatever percentage I'm at and improve every game," Gasol said.

Gasol isn't 100 percent, but both he and Bryant scrimmaged Thursday and that's a promising sign for the Lakers, who need both dearly.

The duo will provide a much-needed boost for the Lakers (36-33), who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, 1½ games ahead of ninth-place Utah.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni finally has the major pieces back to this puzzle the Lakers built over the summer.

Whether that's still a playoff-caliber team will be determined over the final 13 games.

"I'm looking forward to it," D'Antoni said. "That's the lineup, if we're going to do any damage, that's what has to happen."

To start or not to start?

It's hard to tell what kind of impact and how much of one Gasol will have as he returns to the lineup. Even if he doesn't start today, he's expected to soon.