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Olowokandi's Knee Needs More Time

October 14, 2002|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

Michael Olowokandi has been told to take at least two more weeks off before testing his sore left knee, which could jeopardize his availability for the start of the season Oct. 30 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I'm very hopeful I'll be there for the first game," he said before the Clippers' beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 106-96, in an exhibition at Staples Center on Sunday night. "I've lost a half an inch of muscle [in his leg].... I'm confident it's something I can work with.... It's better to treat it before the season starts rather than during the 82-game schedule."

Olowokandi said he injured his knee while working out during the off-season.

"That's all I did," he said. "I prepared for this season. I hardly took any time off.... I felt a little discomfort. Once training camp started, I thought I could fight it off."

The pain became too much to ignore, however.

An MRI exam indicated Olowokandi was suffering from bruised cartilage. He has been resting the knee and taking anti-inflammatory drugs.

Olowokandi, power forward Elton Brand, top reserve Quentin Richardson, backup point guard Keyon Dooling, small forward Lamar Odom and first-round draft picks Melvin Ely and Chris Wilcox could not play against the Grizzlies.

Brand's status for the opener is uncertain after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Sept. 26, although he shot baskets for the second consecutive day.

Richardson has a sprained right knee, Dooling and Odom sprained ankles. Ely has tendinitis in his left big toe and Wilcox a strained right quadriceps.

"I want to play healthy guys," Coach Alvin Gentry said. "We're not going to have anyone out there who's going to injure themselves [further]. We've got eight months of basketball, if we're lucky, ahead of us. Our whole thing is to get them healthy to the point where they can go out and play at a high level."

Gentry started guards Andre Miller and Eric Piatkowski, center Sean Rooks and forwards Corey Maggette and Cherokee Parks against the Grizzlies. It was the same lineup Gentry used in Friday's double-overtime win over the Seattle SuperSonics.


The Clippers waived free agents Jason Crowe and James Head and signed Larry Reid, Bennett Davison and Eric Chenowith, bringing the training camp roster to 20 players. The SuperSonics on Wednesday waived Chenowith, a 7-foot-1 center from Villa Park High and Kansas.... The Clippers decided against returning to the College of the Desert during the week between their final exhibition game and the season opener. They will hold a mini-camp Oct. 24-29 at their practice facility at L.A. Southwest College.

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