Not much else to report Wednesday from Lakerland. Kobe Bryant doesn’t even remember the play that led to a $75,000 lawsuit being filed against him by a fan in Memphis, Tenn. The fan claims Bryant deliberately elbowed him as he dove for a loose ball in a game.
“I really don’t know too much about it,” Bryant said. “I haven’t really paid attention to it too much. If a player’s trying to save a loose ball and keep his team in contention and try and win a game, if that’s something that a player has to do, then a player has to do it. He has to keep the ball alive. That’s why we’re out there is to play basketball.”
Lakers coach Phil Jackson on Aaron McKie’s progress from a back injury: “Aarons starting to look like he can move with the freedom and a level which makes me feel comfortable. I think hes getting comfortable out there.
“Right now, the fact that we have so many guards (means) he doesnt get as much practice time as sometimes wed like him to have because weve got the young kids out here learning and getting acclimated to the game. But hes doing a good job.
By Ross Siler
EL SEGUNDO–All Lakers center Kwame Brown wanted to do entering this season was pick up where he left off in the spring, when he averaged 12.4 points and 8.6 rebounds in 18 games after Chris Mihm was lost to a severe ankle sprain.
Those hopes ended as soon as Brown suffered a shoulder injury in training camp. Just when he was hoping to establish himself as a starting center, Brown instead learned all the medical jargon associated with a bruised rotator cuff and bursitis.
He returned for Sundays game against Memphis but will back up Andrew Bynum for the time being in what coach Phil Jackson envisions as a 20- to 24-minute role nightly.
After seeing the doctor Tuesday, Brown learned that he wont need surgery and can take anti-inflammatories to treat the pain in his trapezius muscle. But Brown offered a frank assessment Wednesday about the state of his shoulder going forward.
“I just think Ill have some good days and some bad days, Brown said. “You get a guy like (Shaquille ONeal) and Yao (Ming) and the big guys in there, Ill probably struggle a little bit.
“I think Im just going to have to focus on playing defense. I think at the offensive end, Im going to struggle because its painful to raise my arm sometimes when Im going against guys. But I can still give them something.
Brown spent Wednesdays practice trying to get his timing down in shooting free throws and jump hooks. He was encouraged to some degree by what he heard from the doctor.
“He said its not going to get any worse, Brown said. “Like I said, its going to have some good days and some bad days. Im just going to have to fight through it.
Zoned in: Jackson put the emphasis Wednesday on breaking down a zone defense out of a halfcourt set. The Lakers stalled out in Fridays loss to the Detroit Pistons, who played zone for what Jackson estimated was 40 percent of the game.
“We havent had a chance to practice against it the level we wanted to, Jackson said. “We did some halfcourt work on that and I tried to get the guys thinking and reading defenses.
Jackson also said he expected Kobe Bryant to continue playing in the backcourt, a switch he made for Sundays game. The Lakers are better organized with Bryant initiating the offense, although it does move him from more of a scoring position on the wing.
Knee sleeve: Bryant wore a protective sleeve on his surgically repaired right knee at practice. It was the first time he had done so for a game or practice this season.
“Ive got to keep it warm, keep it tight, Bryant said of his knee. “It got to the point where during the game, late in the game, it would stiffen up a little bit. Id much rather not wear one, but if its going to keep it warm, then thats something we have to do.