LOS ANGELES (AP) -Pau Gasol returned to the Los Angeles Lakers' starting lineup Wednesday night despite still being slowed by a sprained left ankle that caused him to miss nine games.
Gasol was injured in the first quarter of a 108-98 loss to New Orleans on March 14. The Lakers were 5-4 in his absence after going 15-4 in his first 19 games after Los Angeles acquired him from Memphis.
``It's going to be sore, there's going to be pain,'' the 7-foot center said before the Lakers met the Portland Trail Blazers. ``I just have to deal with it and get over it.''
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Gasol has been tentative in practice.
``We're hoping he can play 16 to 25 minutes, something like that,'' Jackson said. ``I think he's going to feel it out, see how he goes. It'll be up to him, how we play. He's moving pretty well.''
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