Friday, October 8, 2004

Kidd takes a stand behind ailing knee

Nets may fine point guard
for refusing to attend practices

The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Jason Kidd is refusing to attend night sessions during the New Jersey Nets' two-a-day practices at training camp, and he doesn't care if the team fines him for it.

"They want me to be here - they have every right - but my best thing is to try to get healthy, rehab and push forward. That's my stance," said Kidd, who had knee surgery over the summer and is at least three weeks away from practicing. "Me sitting here for three hours is not helping me rehab."

Kidd ended a long public silence and made his displeasure with the Nets clear this week after an offseason that included the cost-cutting trades of Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles. Kidd and Alonzo Mourning said the Nets have no chance of winning a championship.

Coach Lawrence Frank wouldn't discuss Kidd's skipping night sessions, even to clarify whether Kidd's absences were excused or unexcused. Team president Rod Thorn did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Kidd said the team had not informed him or his agent that he would be fined.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, players can be penalized $2,500 for each of the first two practices they miss and $5,000 for each subsequent absence.

The Nets held only one practice Thursday, but another two-a-day was scheduled for today - and Kidd was adamant he wouldn't attend the night session. New Jersey is holding training camp at its regular practice facility, and most Nets players are staying at their own homes.

Kidd said he is rehabilitating his knee seven days a week and plans to consult with his doctors again in three weeks to determine whether he'll be cleared for more strenuous activity.

"If they want to fine me for not sitting here for three hours to watch practice, they're the boss and I'm the employee," Kidd said. "I'm going to stay with my stand and don't come at night. I've already expressed that it's because I'm rehabbing.

"I'm not going out of my way to not come, but it's just (that) part of the day doesn't bring me down this way."

In Kidd's operation, small holes were drilled in his left knee to form scar tissue that replaces cartilage.

In Kidd's absence, veterans Travis Best and Jacque Vaughn and second-year guard Zoran Plananic are vying for the starting job at point guard.

"Is it hard? Yeah, because this is my job," Kidd said before throwing in a dig at management for breaking up a team that won two of the last three Eastern Conference titles.

New Jersey plays its first exhibition game next Thursday against the New York Knicks.

CAVALIERS: Cleveland coach Paul Silas isn't worried that LeBron James might become a stay-at-home dad.

"He will rush back after those 3 o'clock feedings and whatnot," Silas said with a laugh after a Cavaliers workout Thursday. "He'll be back here. I ain't worried about it."

James, the NBA rookie of the year last season, became a father Wednesday. He skipped Cavaliers workouts to spend time with his new son and his longtime girlfriend, a 19-year-old Akron woman.

The team announced the birth Wednesday. No details were provided.

The Cavaliers are going through preseason two-a-day workouts at Capital University in Columbus. James, who turns 20 in December, rejoined the team for the second workout Thursday, which was closed to the public. The team has an intrasquad scrimmage tonight at The Capital Center, and James is expected to play.

Point guard Jeff McInnis said the Cavaliers couldn't wait until James rejoined the team so they could kid him.

"I can't wait to mess with him about being a father," McInnis said. "That's funny though - he's a kid himself."

He said James had joked before the birth that the child might be named DeSagana, after backup center DeSagana Diop.

The players said they did not know the name of the new arrival.

Silas joked that he would let his wife make the decision on a baby gift.

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Cross country postseason nears
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Kidd takes a stand behind ailing knee
Phelps starts another Olympic-sized quest
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