A clearly dejected and frustrated Nick Van Exel, now nursing two injuries, gave indications Thursday that he is planning to withdraw from the All-Star game in the name of rest, recovery and the second half of the Laker season.
He had already been contemplating the move because of his sore left knee, and then Wednesday he suffered a strained hip in the fourth quarter against the New Jersey Nets. He didn't practice Thursday and is listed as questionable for tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves and day-to-day beyond that.
"That won't be hard," he said of missing the All-Star game. "The hardest part is missing [Laker] games. The all-star is individual. The games are team."
As happy as he was at being selected by Western Conference coaches as a reserve, the first such honor of his five-year career, the point guard nodded when asked if he has pretty much made up his mind on whether to play, offering unspoken emotions in the process that showed the pain was not merely physical. He might wait another couple of days, hoping his body will offer an encouraging signal, before making a final decision.