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Lakers' Pau Gasol expected to play tonight; Theo Ratliff progressing

December 3, 2010 | 12:32 pm

Imagine that. There's actually some positive injury news involving the Lakers' big men.

Pau Gasol will probably play Friday night against Sacramento despite a sore left hamstring and Theo Ratliff was using an elliptical machine after the Lakers' shoot-around Friday morning.

Ratliff has been sidelined since having cartilage removed from his left knee Nov. 16, but he appears to be within two weeks from returning. Despite meager stats before his injury, the Lakers can use him, seeing as how Gasol and Lamar Odom have routinely been logging 40-plus minutes a game without Ratliff and Andrew Bynum in the lineup.

"He's moving along quickly," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "We hope it's not so quick that he beats Andrew back ... not that we hope it's not, but it would be kind of ironic, wouldn't it?"

Ratliff, 37, has also been running on an anti-gravity treadmill that reduces stress on the body.

"It looks like somewhere in the next two weeks, things are going to turn around for him," Jackson said.

Ratliff, in his first season with the Lakers, was averaging 0.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.3 minutes a game while feeling continual pain in his knee.

Gasol began experiencing soreness in his hamstring Tuesday against Memphis and had his worst game of the season the following night, scoring eight points on two-for-eight shooting against Houston.

"He's going forward just like he's going to play and if anything disruptive will happen, he'll pull the plug on it and we'll sit him out [Friday night]," Jackson said. "He anticipates that he'll be able to play."

-- Mike Bresnahan