MINNEAPOLIS — Forward Samaki Walker, eligible to come off the injured list for tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, is far from ready. He still has swelling in the joint of his right elbow, which he hyperextended playing against the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 17.
Walker also has a bone bruise in that area.
"I am not going to worry about one game against Minnesota," Walker said. "I am better off letting it heal. I don't want to damage it any more. If this was the playoffs, it would be different."
It would be hard to tell from the way he played Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, but Kobe Bryant has a contusion on one knee, the result of banging that knee in Sunday's game against the New York Knicks.
Bryant shrugged off that injury, which caused him to sit out Tuesday morning's shoot-around, as he did with the sprained left thumb he also suffered in the New York game.
"I played when I could not even breathe," Bryant said, referring to a rib injury he suffered in the postseason last year. "This is nothing."
Like every other coach in the league, Milwaukee's George Karl doesn't know how to play Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant.
"It's a quandary," he said before Tuesday's game. "Do you let them get 20 apiece? Do you let them get 30 apiece? Nobody will argue that they are two of the top five players in the league.
"All you can do is hope that their role players don't hurt you. All you can hope is that you get lucky that way."
Karl didn't get lucky Tuesday night. O'Neal and Bryant combined for 55 points and Laker role players filled in the gaps.
Tuesday night's victory gives the Lakers a league-best 20-9 road record. They are also 7-1 against the Central Division.... Glenn Robinson moved into third place on the Bucks' all-time scoring list with 11,487 points, passing Bob Dandridge. Milwaukee's all-time leader is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, followed by Sidney Moncrief.
at Minnesota, 5 PST
Channel 9 (6 PST, delayed)
Radio--KLAC (570), 6 p.m.
Records--Lakers 39-16, Timberwolves 38-18
Record vs. Timberwolves--1-1
Update--Minnesota forward Gary Trent, out the last seven games because of a strained left hamstring, is doubtful for tonight. There is no doubt guard Terrell Brandon won't play. He is out indefinitely after surgery last Thursday for a fractured left leg. The Lakers are 6-6 in the second of back-to-back games.