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09/18/08 12:26 PM ET

Dodgers get good news on Nomar, Kuo

Garciaparra feeling better; reliever to throw off mound Friday

PITTSBURGH -- The injury update for the Dodgers on Nomar Garciaparra and Hong-Chih Kuo was upbeat Thursday morning.

Garciaparra, who left Wednesday night's game with a left knee injury that appeared nasty, felt so good he canceled an exam by the Pittsburgh Steelers' team doctor.

Garciaparra said this latest sprain is less severe than the one that put him on the disabled list in July. He noted that he was physically ready to return that time in less than a week, but had to sit out the full 15 days of the disabled list requirement.

"It's better than expected," said Garciaparra, who was injured while slamming on the brakes between third and home, his right spikes slipping on the damp grass and his left knee twisting under him. "It's definitely sore and stiff. But I expected it to keep me up [Wednesday] night and it didn't. I have to get the soreness and swelling out, but I should be better from this one quicker."

Garciaparra said the fact that he had already stretched the ligaments in the knee earlier this year made it looser and more flexible, possibly resulting in a lesser injury.

"I think I got lucky, it just didn't look like it," he said.

Kuo, shut down since experiencing discomfort in his left triceps tendon after pitching Sunday, played catch with no problem and plans to throw off a mound Friday.

"It feels good, better today," said Kuo. "But when it bothers me, it isn't when I throw. It's the next day."

Kuo's absence was key in Wednesday night's 15-8 blowout loss to the Pirates. The game was tied with two outs in the seventh inning, a situation ideally suited for Kuo. Instead, manager Joe Torre went with rookie Scott Elbert, who was unable to retire any of the four batters he faced, and the game unraveled.

Kuo, who already has surpassed expectations considering his four previous elbow operations, has thrown 80 innings in 42 appearances with a 2.14 ERA and .204 opponents batting average. He said he's hopeful to be pitching in a game by next week and be available throughout the postseason, if the club gets there.

"I've still got 10 days to go," Kuo said. "I need to be healthy. I don't want to pitch one game and need to shut down. That's not helping the team. I need to be healthy."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.