A role for Ratliff?

Theo Ratliff returned to the practice court today, making the Lakers look whole again. He gives the team four centers, which is probably about two too many. But that doesn’t mean he can’t have an impact if he remains healthy in the season’s second half. When he is ready to play, the Lakers will send rookie forward Derrick Caracter to Bakersfield of the D-League to give him some playing time. Ratliff also will give Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum some work during scrimmages and if they get into foul trouble he can give the Lakers a few minutes now and again. Joe Smith is the fourth center. Lakers coach Phil Jackson was reluctant to guess when Ratliff might be ready to play in a game.

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