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LAKER NOTES

Fox May Be Back in Six Months

May 06, 2003|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

SAN ANTONIO — Laker management expects Rick Fox to return about six months after his surgery to repair a tendon in his left foot and is optimistic enough about his recovery that it will not alter its developing off-season strategy.

Fox, injured early in Game 4 of the Lakers' first-round series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, has been gathering opinions since. He once hoped to be recovered by training camp, but has tempered that in the wake of consultations with a foot specialist in New York.

Fox said Monday that he would choose his surgeon in the next day or two and undergo the procedure in the next week, and that he figured to be back on the floor in six months, at worst. Further examinations suggested the surgery will be more complicated than originally believed, but Fox said doctors would not know for sure until they operated.

The Lakers appear intent on signing a power forward along the lines of Juwan Howard or P.J. Brown and adding backcourt help, perhaps Scottie Pippen. They also could be more likely to re-sign veteran Brian Shaw, who can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward, as can Pippen, assuming his left knee is sound and that he'll sign for one of the lower exceptions.

Fox's injury, however, would not send General Manager Mitch Kupchak searching for a specific small forward, given that his roster also has Kobe Bryant, who would love to play more small forward, and Devean George, who will be the starter until Fox returns.

"I don't think it changes a whole lot during the off-season," Kupchak said. "If there's one position we had depth at, it's at the small-forward position.... If we're right on Devean, and we have a feeling he's pretty good or we wouldn't have paid him, I think we're OK there."

Fox is under contract for two more seasons after this one, at $4.7 million and $5.1 million.

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In the first round, Derek Fisher set an NBA record for three-point field goals in a six-game series with 21. The previous record was 18, by Portland's Terry Porter in 1992. Fisher had 19 through five games.

Fisher made 21 of 34 threes, 61.8%, best among postseason qualifiers.

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The All-NBA team will be announced today. Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal are expected to be on the first team.... O'Neal, to TNT, on the subject of most-beautiful-people lists: "I'm not beautiful, I'm gorgeous. The gorgeous list hasn't come out yet."

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