Wednesday report

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the injuries the Lakers are dealing with.

For starters, Aaron McKie was found Wednesday to be suffering from disc irritation and inflammation in his back. Whether he will need surgery has not been determined. The Lakers said they would monitor the situation and McKie wouldn’t play at least the next couple of days.

The team also sent Kwame Brown and Vladimir Radmanovic to see doctors. Brown’s right shoulder is still bothering him and Radmanovic had an MRI on his hand. That would seem to be an indication that Radmanovic’s hand is not getting better. The Lakers weren’t sure if they would get results back Wednesday night.

Here are the blog extras from Wedneday’s practice:

The Lakers are less than two weeks away from their Oct. 31 season opener against Phoenix. They still have yet to play an exhibition game with Kobe Bryant, which has made evaluating their preseason play more difficult than previous years.

One thing thats not too early to do is start speculating about who will be the 12 players on the active roster for opening night. The Lakers can carry up to 15 players on their roster but can activate only 12 each game.

It sounds as if Chris Mihm has a ways to go before his ankle is 100 percent again. I also would expect the Lakers to fill one spot on the inactive list with either Devin Green or J.R. Pinnock, depending on which player makes the team.

That leaves one spot on the inactive list. Barring further injuries, I see 11 players that have to be on the active roster:

PG: Smush Parker, Sasha Vujacic
SG: Kobe Bryant, Maurice Evans
SF: Vladimir Radmanovic, Luke Walton
PF: Lamar Odom, Brian Cook, Ronny Turiaf
C: Kwame Brown, Andrew Bynum

With Mihm injured, Bynum is the backup center. Turiaf also can play center if the need arises. Against the Suns, however, an extra guard might be preferable to an extra big man. The final spot on the active roster would appear to come down to a battle between Jordan Farmar and Shammond Williams.

Williams has been battling an abdominal injury but is a better shooter than Farmar. He hit all five shots he took against the Suns on Sunday night. Farmar, however, has impressed since the start of training camp and played the best defense of any guard against Steve Nash.

Another possibility is that Walton might start ahead of Radmanovic. Nobody would be surprised with the way Walton has played and Radmanovic has struggled with a hand injury. Would you have guessed before training camp that the 54.5 percent shooter would be Walton and the 25.9 percent shooter would be Radmanovic?

This is just one writers analysis of the situation. Id be happy to hear yours.

* * *

Some notes from Wednesdays practice, where the reporters were let into the gym just as Phil Jackson was making his exit:

I asked Farmar about the bank shot he missed in the last 2 1-2 minutes Tuesday with the Lakers trailing 92-89. He seemed a lot more bothered by that shot than the five turnovers he had in the first half. . . .

“I dont miss that shot, Farmar said. “Its killing me. Thats my favorite shot in basketball, the little floaters. It just wouldnt go in last night.

During one timeout in the second half, Kobe Bryant got up from his seat behind the bench and talked at length to Farmar. Bryant has been a voice in Farmars ear throughout training camp.

“Hes very poised, Bryant said of Farmar. “Hes a savvy basketball player. For his age, playing at this level, thats good to see. He plays with a lot of confidence. Hes just very poised. I just try to help him out wherever I can. . . . .

Farmar nearly made a brilliant play in the first half Tuesday, beating Mike Bibby in the lane and floating in a shot to beat the 24-second clock. But Farmar was called for a late charge taken by Kenny Thomas on the play.

“Im a rookie, Farmar said. “They didnt give me that call. . . . .

Kwame Brown said he would decide about playing tonight at the morning shootaround. Brown went through about half of practice Wednesday but is struggling to use his right hand to fend off players. . . .

Chris Mihm scaled back his workouts after his right ankle flared up again. He said he would increase his workload in the next couple of days in the hopes of being able to play Oct. 31. But Mihm described the process as “very frustrating.. . . .

Brian Cook suffered a mild sprain of his left ankle . . . .

As an undrafted free agent last season, Devin Green never had to attend the NBAs rookie transition program. He went to New York for the program in September, along with Ronny Turiaf and Farmar, and said he benefited greatly.

“I think it might have helped a little more if you go back after one year because youve actually been in it,” Green said. “A lot of guys that are there, theyre sitting there like its class. We took it a little more to heart.

The sessions cover everything from managing your money to media training to nutrition to learning how to handle family members and friends as a professional athlete.

By Ross Siler
Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO–Every time he looks at his right wrist, Lakers forward Devin Green can read the words, “The NBA: Its a privilege, not a right, another reminder that he has to fight again this October for a spot on the 15-man roster.

Green picked up the black wristband at the NBAs rookie transition program last month and said he liked the message. He knows that nothing is guaranteed, even after making the team out of training camp last season.

“I went through it last year, so Im kind of used to it, Green said. “I kind of know what to look for. I think the hardest thing for me is trying to control my anxiety. You go out there and youre hyped and you want to prove a point to everybody.

After going undrafted out of Hampton, Green won the last spot on the Lakers roster and played in 27 games as a rookie. He saw only limited action but was active for 69 of 82 regular-season games.

Once again, Green is in training camp without a guaranteed contract. The final roster spot appears to be a three-way battle between veteran guard Aaron McKie, second-round draft pick J.R. Pinnock and Green.

The Lakers already have invested a season in developing Green, who struggled in the fourth quarter of Tuesdays exhibition loss to Sacramento.

Green made just one of six shots and was beaten by John Salmons on a three-point play with 2:38 left that put the Kings in front for good. He also was tied up for a jump ball that Salmons won and missed two open jumpers down the stretch.

Although Green has had limited game experience, the Lakers have stressed that he has to shoot better than last season – - when he hit 6 of 28 shots – - and make his mark as a defender.

“Hes quick enough and athletic enough to be able to shut people down, Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis said. “Thats what we need him to show us, that he can take on a defender one-on-one and we can count on him to control that guy by himself.

The Lakers have to set their roster by 3 p.m. on Oct. 30.

Game time: The number of exhibition games left for Kobe Bryant in which he can test his right knee is down to two. Bryant wont play tonight against the Clippers or in Fridays game in the annual Staples Center shootout.

That leaves Bryant with only two remaining possibilities – - Sunday in San Diego or Oct. 26 in Anaheim. He was asked Wednesday if he needed to play in at least one game before opening night on Oct. 31.

“I would love to have one. Definitely, Bryant said. “Just to kind of get the kinks out a little bit, get the game under your belt, that sort of thing. That would help tremendously.

Point taken: Lakers coach Phil Jackson was at practice Wednesday and made his displeasure known with how the team played the night before, especially when it came to handling Sacramentos pressure defense.

“He didnt quite say it that nicely, Rambis said, “but he did get his point across and he just wanted our guys to know that they still have to progress in this offense.

McKie update: After suffering a back injury in the second minute Tuesday, McKie was found to be suffering from disc irritation and inflammation. The Lakers will wait to see how he progresses; McKie wont play for at least a couple of days.

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  • Michael Teniente

    Gee, with your projections nothing changes. I mean Vlad Rad is injured and might not get the start on opening night. So if that’s true, then everyone you mentioned is the same from last year. Why, pray tell, did we sign Williams, draft Farmar if we’re going with the same line-up as last year? It doesn’t make any sense.

    mike

  • 24/7

    Ross,
    I heard a report on 570 today from Hacksaw that Kobe may not be ready for opening night and that also he may be pretty limited for at least the first month of the season. Is that Hacksaw just being negative (nothing new) or do you see this being a more serious situation than originally anticipated??? Considering that getting off to a good start is so important with the cushy schedule, how worried should we be about the health of the leader of the team?

  • http://MySpace.com/kwon5966 Kwon 5966

    how legit is Vlade’s injury? it seems more like an excuse because he’s shooting so horrible and Lakers dont want their fans to think they just waisted $32 million on a player whos only skill in the NBA was to shoot. i was at both of the games in Vegas and i was having flash backs of Elden Campbell watching Vladimir do his impression of defense.he’s 6’10 and cant rebound. i watched him look at the ball drop right down infront of him just to see Amare Stoudamire grab it without Radmanovic even giving a flinch. and im really surprised to see Aaron McKie still on the team,and in the league. i thought he died last year or something. oh well i can honestly say i doubt he’ll be on the team even with his gauranteed contract. his 56 year old back gave up on him the first 90 seconds of the Kings game.good thing we waisted our money on him last year,hopefully Radmanovic wont make this 2 years in a row of waisted money.

  • Robert

    I think anyone with any basketball knowledge at all could have seen this roster situation coming for two months. The Lakers were clearly stacked in the ninth through eighteenth player range. I checked about a dozen basketball sites everyday waiting for news of a Laker trade. I figured Kupchak must be doing something to try and turn his best resource into a player the Lakers could actually use. I’ll never understand why there was no trade to open minutes for a reliable gaurd amd to open up minutes for young players especially after seeing Turiaf play last year and Farmar this summer. I find it hard to believe even Kupchak couldn’t turn Smush or Sasha plus Mihm or Cook and any two of Green, McKie, Pinnok, and Williams into a reliable PG. Even if you get 75 cents on the dollar you’ll get an improvement over Smush as your starting point gaurd. Then the line-up could have hypothetically looked like this.

    PG some on better than Smush, Vujacic, Farmar
    SG Kobe, Evans
    SF Walton, Radmonovic
    PF Odom, Cook
    C Brown, Turiaf, Bynum

    They would have a much better starting five, they would be able to keep Farmar and Turiaf on the active roster and they wouldn’t lose anything in thier rotation besides some size at backup center but the way the league is going that wouldn’t hurt too much. Mitch has done nothing for too long. The Lakers need a real GM. Mitch is almost as bad as Isiah except for the exact opposite reason. Instead of doing way too much he never seems to do anything besides sign players that any mediocre GM could sign. Can’t we get Kiki in here already?

  • 24/7

    Ross,
    I saw the bad news on Kwame today. I am sure you will be covering this in your next article, but I am curious who you think will assume most of the minutes at center and how much this will impact the team at the beginning of the season. With a lack of big, dominant, traditional centers, is Lamar an option there until Kwame/Mihm return? Bynum, Turiaf, and (gulp) Cook are the only other options I can think of at this time.