The Lakers have ruled out playing backup guard Sasha Vujacic in either of this weekend’s exhibition games at Staples Center after he suffered a concussion in practice Thursday. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff Monday. He was injured when Lamar Odom cracked in the face with an accidental elbow.
Backup shooting guard Sasha Vujacic suffered a concussion when he was elbowed accidentally during today’s practice. Lamar Odom struck him just below the left eye during a scrimmage. The Lakers said he would be out indefinitely, but would be re-evaluated today. He had two points, one rebound, one assist and two blocked shots in 14:24 during Wednesday’s victory over the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS — The Lakers’ first exhibition victory in three tries didn’t lack for story lines. There was Kobe Bryant looking a lot like Kobe Bryant as he moved effortlessly around the court. He played almost 19 minutes and showed few signs of his slow recovery from offseason knee surgery. Then there was his wonky shot. He made only 2 of 10 shots and scored seven points. He had made only 4 of 28 shots in three exhibitions. There was more, too. Ron Artest and Pau Gasol had 18 points apiece and Shannon Brown had 17. Lamar Odom picked up a technical foul for raising his arms to protest a foul, violating a new rule forbidding such displays of dissent. Lakers coach Phil Jackson also had a technical foul. The Lakers broken open the game by outscoring the Kings, 28-12, in the third quarter. The backups then held on for the Lakers’ first exhibition win after two losses last week in Europe. Oh yeah, and Mike Tyson was seated courtside. Nice!
LAS VEGAS — That’s what Jeanie Buss, the boss’ daughter, tells her boyfriend, Lakers coach Phil Jackson. At least, that’s what she tells him during exhibition games, when Jackson makes it clear he could care less about wins and losses. “Jeanie tells me always I’m the worst preseason coach in the history of the NBA,” Jackson said before the Lakers tried to avoid a 0-3 start to the exhibition season tonight against Sacramento. “She’s always riding me about that. I tell her the reality is we’re trying to get the players in shape. Maybe the last couple of games you can get it together a little bit before the regular season.”
Kobe Bryant practiced with his teammates today and is on track to play roughly 16 to 18 minutes in Wednesday’s exhibition against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas. He has played only limited minutes in the Lakers’ first two exhibitions after having offseason knee surgery. “He came out about mid-practice,” Phil Jackson said. “I think he looked OK, actually. He had a shooting workout and a weight workout this morning before he stepped out to practice. So it tempered how he looked a little bit. He had gone through a full regime before he took the floor (but) I thought he looked better than he has so far.”
Derek Fisher’s minutes went down last season. So did his scoring average. He turned 36 in August. The Lakers re-signed him, but they also signed free agent Steve Blake to serve as his backup this season. Fisher said he’s aware his minutes might be trimmed further this season. He played an average of 27.2 minutes last season and averaged 7.5 points. in 2008-09, he averaged 29.8 minutes and 9.9 points. Here’s Fisher on the situation:
“I think there’s a reason why we went out and signed Steve Blake, so I’m a realist in that regard. I can’t remember the last time I played in excess of 30 minutes a game in the regular season. I’m not coming into this season expecting to play more than that. However many minutes there are, I plan to maximize them, take advantage of opportunities and do the things I’m capable of doing.”
Fisher has played 413 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in the NBA.
Ron Artest talked today about losing weight, saying he hoped to begin the season at 245 pounds, which would be down from the 260 or so he usually carries. He said he had stopped drinking alcohol over the summer, avoiding the carbohydrates in beer. Then out of nowhere, with his conversation with reporters apparently over, Artest added, “Even if they legalize marijuana (with a California ballot initiative Nov. 3), I won’t be smoking marijuana.”