Sunday, March 7, 2004

NBA: Bryant could miss month with sprained shoulder

The Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Kobe Bryant could be sidelined up to a month with a sprained right shoulder, the same injury that kept the Lakers' star guard out for six games two months ago.

He also had offseason surgery to repair torn tissue in the same shoulder. "We try to be optimistic, but it looks like he could be out for a while," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said Saturday.

Bryant doesn't think this injury is as bad as the one that kept him out earlier, and he apparently doesn't expect to miss a month.

"He was optimistic when he came in this morning, which is a very good sign," Jackson said. "He felt that he would be back in a few games, so he thought it was nothing like the last time when he had to sit out."

Bryant will be re-evaluated after the Lakers' next road trip, which begins Monday in Utah and ends Saturday in Chicago.

If Bryant has to miss a month, he still will be back before the NBA playoffs begin April 17.

Leading the Lakers in scoring with a 22.4-point average, Bryant reinjured his shoulder trying to fight through a pick. He banged into Reggie Evans 54 seconds after tipoff in Friday's 99-91 win over Seattle.

Dr. Steve Lombardo diagnosed the injury as a sprained acromio-clavicular joint.

Cavaliers 106, Bucks 97

CLEVELAND - LeBron James had 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 29 points to lead Cleveland over Milwaukee.

Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Jeff McInnis had a season-high 12 assists for the Cavaliers, who won their third straight. James also had four steals to go with another array of jaw-dropping dunks.

76ers 97, Bulls 88

PHILADELPHIA - Kenny Thomas had a season-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, leading Philadelphia to a victory over Chicago.

Allen Iverson had 20 points and 11 assists and reserve Zendon Hamilton added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Sixers, who had lost 18 of 24.

Heat 102, Kings 96

MIAMI - Lamar Odom earned the first triple-double by a Heat player in nine years with 30 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists.

It was Odom's eighth triple-double and the fourth in Heat history.

He achieved a season high in points and a career high in rebounds. Rafer Alston scored 20 points for Miami. Reserves Rasual Butler and Udonis Haslem added 17 apiece. Mike Bibby scored 24 points and Chris Webber 22 for the Kings.

Grizzlies 98, Clippers 92

LOS ANGELES - James Posey had 15 points and reserve Charles Outlaw added 13 points and 11 rebounds to help Memphis win its fourth straight. The Grizzlies improved to a franchise-record 14 games over .500 (38-24) with their 13th win in 16 games.

Spurs 107, Suns 86

PHOENIX - Rasho Nesterovic scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Malik Rose had 19 points and Tony Parker got 17, leading San Antonio to a romp over Phoenix. The Spurs won their fourth game in five tries without Duncan, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player.

Pistons 97, Nuggets 66

DENVER - Rasheed Wallace had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Corliss Williamson added 14 points, leading Detroit past the reeling Nuggets. Detroit played its second straight game without leading scorer Richard Hamilton because of a broken nose.

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