Lakers without Gasol again
LOS ANGELES -- Lakers forward Pau Gasol is getting frustrated by the slow pace of his recovery from a strained right hamstring after missing his third straight game Sunday night.
Gasol has been out of action for three weeks since injuring his leg early in the defending NBA champions' preseason schedule. He didn't suit up for Los Angeles' game against Atlanta, putting Lamar Odom in the starting lineup again.
"We've done all the right treatment and rehab, and now we've just got to be patient," Gasol said. "It's not going away, and it was hard for a few days. I didn't expect it to be this way, but we're doing what we have to do."
The Spanish forward missed just one regular-season game last year and was the Lakers' second-leading scorer while averaging 18.9 points, a team-leading 9.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
He wonders whether his extensive offseason schedule with his national team over the past two summers contributed to muscle fatigue that led to the injury.
"It's a couple of years that I've put my body through a lot of work, so maybe that has something to do with it," Gasol said. "Or maybe it's just a one-time thing."
The Lakers haven't decided when Gasol will return, but he plans to make their upcoming road trip to Oklahoma City and Houston. Coach Phil Jackson doesn't mind if Gasol sits out both games, but he expects his starting power forward to be back fairly soon.
"It's not something where you have to be [100 percent]," Jackson said. "You can't be 100 percent on this unless you take forever and ever to let it heal. ... His initial diagnosis was that it takes six weeks for a hamstring to heal. We don't have six weeks. We just have to figure it out, and there are ways to come through this without having to jeopardize him."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press