Artest starts against the Rockets

Updated: January 6, 2010, 9:58 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest returned from a concussion against his former team, the Houston Rockets, on Tuesday but didn't figure much in the outcome.

Artest played 33 minutes and scored seven points on 3-of-11 shooting in the Lakers' 88-79 victory.

Artest
Artest

"The way it is, it's probably better to get him out there and start him right away and then see how it goes," Jackson said before the game.

Artest missed the Lakers' last five games after a fall at his home on Christmas Day left him with a concussion, staples on the back of his head and stitches on his left elbow.

On Monday, Artest participated in his first full practice with the team since the injury and was cleared to return to game action on Tuesday morning by his neurologist.

Artest was first reported to be starting by the Lakers executive vice president of business operations, Jeanie Buss, on her Twitter account.

While the Lakers got Artest back in the lineup, the team was without starting power forward Pau Gasol, who was diagnosed with a mild-to-moderate strain of the left hamstring after playing just seven minutes in Los Angeles' game against the Mavericks on Sunday.

Jackson described Gasol's injury as a Grade 1 strain with "an insignificant amount of tear" as opposed to the more serious Grade 2 strain Gasol suffered in his right hamstring that caused him to miss the first 11 games of the season.

"We're hoping this is game-to-game [for Gasol]," Jackson said, "Although, I highly doubt he'll be ready for tomorrow's game [against the Los Angeles Clippers]."

Lamar Odom, who moved from the bench to the starting lineup in Artest's absence, is expected to fill in for Gasol.

Odom is not 100 percent sound after missing the Lakers practice on Monday to see the doctor about a gastro-intestinal issue.

"We're going to see how Lamar does this game," Jackson said. "He has a lot of issues right now. He didn't practice yesterday, he's dehydrated a little bit so we have to watch [what he does out there]."

Odom scored 17 points and pulled down a season-high 19 rebounds in 39 minutes.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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