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LAKERS REPORT

Jackson Says Help Must Be on Way

November 03, 1999|TIM KAWAKAMI

There will be help coming at power forward, Coach Phil Jackson said Tuesday, mostly because there's no way the team can go long with what's currently on the roster.

After putting presumed starter Robert Horry on the injured list, the Lakers are down to A.C. Green as the starter, John Salley as the main backup at center and power forward, and a banged-up Travis Knight as the last big man available.

"We just believe we can remedy the situation," Jackson said before the game. "There's going to be availability for us out there at some time to fill that spot.

"There's been a couple guys come off the list that we have to sit down and analyze: Can they play in this system? Can they play with this team? What's their age?"

The prospect of making a deal to acquire Bison Dele, one source said, is somewhat dimmed by the fact that Dele apparently is in Africa and has given no indication that he wants to play basketball again.

For now, Rick Fox--a former starter at small forward and someone Jackson hopes to play some at guard--will see some minutes at power forward.

The Lakers are hoping that the minimum of five games that Horry misses will allow him to return as a productive power player, which he did not display during the exhibition season.

"I think there's [many] things going on with Robert," Jackson said. "His endurance, a little trauma around the knee, his lack of confidence in it . . . coming up lame in the preseason game and then sitting out two successive games after playing one minute in that game.

"All those things are kind of bells going off in our head, this guy is under some duress and under some fear factor. To have a player playing with that kind of fear and that kind of trepidation is not what we wanted to do. We want him to be healthy of mind with that too."

*

Jackson was back at the Delta Center for the first time since Michael Jordan made the game-winning basket in Game 6 against Utah to win the 1998 NBA championship.

"I looked up at that basket over there that Michael dropped that basket in this morning and thought how fortunate it was that we won it at that time," Jackson said.

"I don't know if we could've won another night if we had to go on. We were pretty much banged up, with [Scottie] Pippen injured, suffering some spasms from his surgery."

TONIGHT

vs. Vancouver Grizzlies

Fox Sports West

* Time--7:30 p.m.

* Site--Staples Center.

* Radio--KLAC 570.

* Records--Lakers 1-0; Grizzlies 0-1.

* 1999 record vs. Grizzlies--2-1.

* Update--The Grizzlies had quite the off-season. After an NBA-worst 8-42 1999 record, the Grizzlies drafted guard Steve Francis with the No. 2 overall pick, then traded him to Houston after Francis made it clear he did not want to play in Vancouver. Recently, billionaire Bill Laurie negotiated to purchase the team, probably with the intent to move it to St. Louis, but the purchase is currently being held up. The Lakers are wearing black armbands in memory of Wilt Chamberlain.

* Tickets--Sold out.

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