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LAKERS FYI

Lakers will be very careful with Pau Gasol

Hamstring injury is a big concern, but it's not considered as serious as the one earlier in the season.

January 06, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

One hamstring injury was bad enough, so the Lakers are taking a long look at Pau Gasol's daily regimen after the forward-center sustained his second strained hamstring this season.

The Lakers are studying his diet as well as his tendency to work more on his upper body than lower body in the weight room. (Not that Gasol is a burly, muscle-bound type, but the team wants him to work out his legs more often when he returns from his most recent injury.)

The good news, if there is any for the Lakers, comes from the fact that Gasol's strain in his left hamstring is a Grade 1 instead of the more serious Grade 2 strain in his right hamstring that kept him out of the season's first 11 games.

"There actually is an insignificant amount of tear," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "But it's something we want to prevent from being anything greater and so does he. We're hoping this is, like, game to game."

Probably more like week to week.

Gasol sat out Tuesday's game against Houston and Jackson said he would "highly doubt" Gasol would return tonight against the Clippers. The Lakers play Friday at Portland.

Gasol was injured while jumping up and down, trying to get loose a few minutes before Sunday's game against Dallas. He played a little more than seven minutes against the Mavericks before heading to the locker room.

So when will he return?

"He'll have to be confident of where he's at," Jackson said. "He'll have to be fully assured that he's all right."

The Lakers started Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest in the frontcourt against Houston.

"We can cover [Gasol's absence] with Andrew and with Lamar," Jackson said. "That's why we have the depth that we have on this team. We have some margin for error right now."

Bynum looked more active without Gasol for a second consecutive game.

"He's just more of a focal point," Jackson said. "You have Andrew in the lane and usually that presents a much bigger target and we don't have as many guys asking for the ball in the lane. He does take a little more responsibility when he's in there alone."

Cross-town rivals?

The Lakers have won nine consecutive games against the Clippers, nudging aside what had been a fairly even rivalry a few years back.

The Clippers even advanced one round further than the Lakers in the 2006 playoffs, but those days seem like a long time ago.

In the Lakers' streak against their down-the-hall neighbors, they have won by an average of 20.1 points, including a 99-92 victory in their season opener.

He's right, technically

Kobe Bryant already has nine technical fouls and will be suspended for a game if he gets 16 in the regular season, though Jackson has a simple solution.

"We know he's passed the halfway part," he said. "He's got to watch himself. He just can't be as vocal anymore."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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