YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


O'Neal Finds Relief for Sore Toe

June 06, 2002|Tim Brown

Shaquille O'Neal's doctors have not settled on a course of postseason treatment for the center's arthritic big toe but continue to make subtle adjustments to the orthotic piece in his right shoe.

O'Neal, who goes through an orthotic each game, recently has played with more freedom, suggesting he is getting some relief from the malady that has nagged him since early in the season.

Laker trainer Gary Vitti and O'Neal's podiatrist, UCLA's Dr. Robert Mohr, speak every two or three days about O'Neal's condition. The combination of anti-inflammatory medication and orthotics has achieved the early goal, which was to keep O'Neal playing productively into June.

O'Neal said during the season that surgery was a strong possibility, but there are no current plans for that. Mohr has stressed alternative treatments and, indeed, they have seen less swelling in the first joint in O'Neal's big toe recently.

"We'll make a decision after the season," Perry Rogers, O'Neal's agent, said. "What we want to do is figure out the steps short of surgery first. We're not going to rush into surgery."

The recovery period for surgery is about two months, which gives O'Neal time to consider alternatives.

"I've got to get other opinions," O'Neal said.


Devean George, a free agent after the season, could return to the Lakers, but he apparently is beginning to have his doubts.

"I feel like it's winding down," George, a first-round pick in 1999, said of his time with the club. "It's just a feeling I've got."

George made large strides in the offense in the first few months of the season, when he often played the fourth quarter in place of Rick Fox. He played only 29 minutes in the final three games of the Western Conference finals and 11 minutes Wednesday.

Laker General Manager Mitch Kupchak has said he would attempt to re-sign the young free agents, George and Slava Medvedenko among them.


Two-and-a-half hours before the game, an NBC crew knocked off a sprinkler head in a room off the Kings' locker room, flooding a back hallway and setting off an alarm heard throughout Staples Center.

About a dozen workers mopped up the mess.


A game after the Sacramento Kings missed 14 of 30 free throws against the Lakers in the Western Conference finals, the Nets missed eight of their first 12 free-throw attempts.

Los Angeles Times Articles