Lakers’ Pau Gasol hopes to play Friday


The hope, Pau Gasol said after practice Thursday, is that with rest and treatment on his strained left hamstring he’ll be able to play Friday night against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.

Gasol will test his injury Friday at the team’s shootaround and then make a decision on whether to play or sit out.

“We’re short-handed already,” Gasol said. “So I just try to be out there as much as I can and do as much as I can without obviously wanting anything to happen that would put you out. I’ve got to toughen up right now…”


Gasol first felt his injury bother him in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s game in Memphis. During Wednesday night’s game in Houston, Gasol said he “couldn’t run, couldn’t sprint” like he wanted to.

He left the game at the end of the third quarter to get stretched out and returned in the fourth, but Gasol wasn’t very effective.

If Gasol can’t play, rookie forward Derrick Caracter will play a pivotal role.

“Might have to start him,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “Play him the whole game. That’s always an option where something may happen like that.”

If Gasol doesn’t play, he could get five days of rest because the Lakers don’t play again until Tuesday at Staples Center against the Washington Wizards.

Jackson said it has been discussed.

“[We are] concerned, but he’s a pretty resilient player [and] we think that he can come back and play,” Jackson said about Gasol.

Last season, Gasol missed 11 games with a strained right hamstring and six with a strained left hamstring.


This current strain is not the same, he said.

Gasol thinks his heavy minutes may have contributed to his injury.

“I think it’s been a little bit of a warning,” Gasol said. “Phil pointed out today that I’m only averaging two more minutes than I did last year. So what am I complaining about? I’m not complaining.”

Jackson was right.

Gasol is averaging 39.3 minutes per game, sixth most in the NBA. Last season, he averaged 37 minutes per game.

Bynum not as sharp

When the media was allowed in at the end of the Lakers’ practice, there was center Andrew Bynum playing in a four-on-four, half-court scrimmage.

Bynum, who hasn’t played all season while he recovers from right knee surgery, also participated in the same practice session Monday, but wasn’t quite as sharp this time.

“I thought he played a little better the other day [Monday] than today [Thursday],” Jackson said. “But I think it’s just a product of late-night travel and everything else.”

Bynum, who traveled with the Lakers on their two-game trip to Memphis and Houston, has said he hopes to be playing in about 2 1/2 weeks.


Too much losing

A four-game losing streak has the Lakers looking for ways to stop that skid.

They haven’t been as sharp, offensively or defensively.

“Last year we had a little run at the end of the season that was bad,” Jackson said. “You go through those spells during the year, and I hope this is ours.”


Backup center Theo Ratliff, out after having left knee surgery, ran on the treadmill Thursday for the first time since his procedure… Jackson said there has been no recent talk about acquiring a big man. But Jackson said he and Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak talked about maybe sending rookies Caracter and Devin Ebanks to the NBA Development League team Bakersfield Jam, but decided against it because of being short on healthy bodies.