The last thing we want to hear with our starting center already out.

ESPN: The Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to hold Pau Gasol’s minutes-played total under 40 Wednesday, but the reason for the rest is the last thing the Lakers wanted.

Gasol checked out of the game with 40.2 seconds left in the third quarter and went straight to the locker room, where team trainer Gary Vitti stretched out Gasol’s sore left hamstring. Gasol tweaked the hamstring Wednesday night against Memphis.

After Vitti worked on him Gasol re-entered the game with 9:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers were outscored 29-15 from that point until the final buzzer. The Lakers lost 109-99 to the Rockets and are now enduring a four-game losing streak for the first time since April 8-13, 2007. Gasol was hampered by the injury, going 0-of-2 from the field and grabbing only two rebounds in the period.

“It’s a little sore,” Gasol said. “It bothered me out there. Today it didn’t get loose at all so I couldn’t play the way I wanted to. … I’ll take it day-by-day and see how it feels [Thursday]. Hopefully I will give it a rest tomorrow and recover. As you all know, I’ve been playing quite a bit.

“Hopefully it’s just tight from fatigue,” said Gasol, who played 40-plus minutes in each of L.A.’s past four games coming into Wednesday and seven of their past 10. “My concern is that it doesn’t get better or gets worse and becomes a problem. … Then we’ll really have a problem.”

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