- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol sat out a 102-91 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, missing his second straight game after straining his left hamstring in the first quarter of the Lakers game against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
Gasol's condition is improving after being diagnosed with a mild-to-moderate strain following an ultrasound of his hamstring on Monday.
"He worked pain-free today, so that's nice to know," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
On Tuesday, 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.
Gasol told ESPNLosAngeles.com after the Lakers game with the Houston Rockets, his first game out of the lineup, that his current hamstring issue is "a lot different" than the one that plagued him at the beginning of the season.
"It happened differently and it's definitely milder than the other strain," Gasol said.
Jackson would not reveal the cause of Gasol's injury on Monday, suggesting the circumstances in which the injury occurred were out of the ordinary, but Gasol refuted that on Tuesday.
"I was just warming up, stretching out and my hamstring was feeling a little tighter than usual and I tweaked it somehow," said the 7-footer, averaging 16.8 points and 11.5 rebounds on the season. "It didn't go away and it got worse during the game."
Jackson said that Gasol underwent a successful therapy session on Wednesday that implemented slide boards and leg extensions to test the hamstring.
"You take a player to a point where he either goes to exhaustion -- perhaps not pain -- but until he at least feels it," Jackson said.
"We don't want him to go through pain but when there's no pain that's significant or at least noticeable, that's a good thing."
Despite the fact that this is his second hamstring injury in three months, Gasol was not concerned about his hamstrings causing him chronic trouble.
"I've never had any problems with my hamstrings," Gasol said. "I don't know if its coincidence. I don't know if there's a reason for it, but I think just that I don't know, that I guess it's just bad luck and like I said, hopefully it will go away soon enough and I can be back out there again.
"I just hope it heals up a lot faster than the other one did and obviously I have the experience of dealing with the other one now, so that's going to help too."
The Lakers next game is in Portland on Friday against the Trail Blazers when Los Angeles will try to break an eight-game losing streak at the Rose Garden.
10mMichael C. Wright