YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Pro Basketball | LAKER REPORT

Hunter Remains Starter for Now

November 26, 2001|Tim Brown

Laker Coach Phil Jackson always preferred Lindsey Hunter as a starter, and believed Hunter's game suffered last season in Milwaukee because he came off the bench behind guards Sam Cassell and Ray Allen.

Therefore, Jackson said, he would continue to start Hunter and gradually feed minutes to Derek Fisher, who, with forward Mark Madsen, came off the injured list Sunday.

Last season, Fisher returned from the same surgery--to repair a stress fracture in his right foot--to heavy minutes and critical defensive responsibilities.

"It was a need situation last year," Jackson said. "This year, we're OK. I can work him into the lineup a little bit as he goes."


Two hours before the Lakers played the Denver Nuggets, Madsen shot his new jumper, and felt the anticipation again, well before the purple seats at Staples Center filled.

When, from his right, he heard, "Hey, Mark! Hey, Mark!"

It was Chick Hearn, his right thumb in the air, pleased the popular Madsen was off the injured list, along with Fisher.

Madsen waved and smiled. "Thanks, Chickie!" he shouted, and Hearn waved back.

The Lakers activated Fisher and Madsen, waived Joe Crispin and relegated Jelani McCoy to the injured list.

Madsen (left wrist) and Fisher had their surgeries on the same morning, July 3, and played their first NBA game since then on the same night. They are similar in that they are beloved by their teammates for their effort on the floor, and for being regular guys in a very celebrity world.

"Honestly," Madsen said, "the main thing for me is to bring an aggressive energy to the court. It's a privilege to be on the Lakers. I want to add to the great energy that's already here."

In Sunday night's win over Denver, Madsen played only six minutes, picking up two quick fouls and missing his only shot.


Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal arrived at the arena not feeling well. Bryant had a cold and did not participate in the morning shoot-around, and O'Neal had an upset stomach.

McCoy, according to a team release, has a bone bruise in his right foot.

Los Angeles Times Articles