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LAKER NOTES

Fox Watches From Afar, Smiling

May 12, 2003|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

Rick Fox watched Game 4 from Westchester County, an hour from New York City, where this morning he'll have surgery to repair the torn tendon in his left foot and realign his heel.

He intended to drive from his home to Manhattan on Sunday night; the procedure, at the Hospital for Special Surgery, is scheduled at 6 a.m.

If nothing else, he said after Sunday's 99-95 Laker victory, "I can go in there with a smile on my face."

In a postseason thick with Lakers falling out, Fox was the first, and Sunday he sat in his living room with his wife and daughter, 3,000 miles from the game. He spoke Saturday night with Phil Jackson, the third Laker to go after Fox and Devean George, and they commiserated a bit, but Fox said Jackson sounded healthy.

They wished each other well, Jackson having beaten Fox to the surgeon's table by a couple of days, and Fox said he was getting restless to be done with it.

"I keep thinking 'Tuesday,' " he said. "I'll be happier Tuesday. Things will be over and I can get on with rehabilitation."

Doctors in New York told him he wouldn't be allowed on an airplane for several days after the surgery, so it could be the end of the week before Fox is back among his teammates. "When I left I told them I'd see them in the next series."

*

Kobe Bryant, whose father, Joe, played in the NBA, on where he acquired his knack for taking over games: "I don't know. Probably my mother. I don't know. Ever since I was 4 or 5, I've been that same way, been that competitive."

*

As the third-quarter horn sounded, Brian Shaw banked in a 33-foot three-pointer that gave the Lakers a 71-67 lead. Shaw short-armed the shot because fans behind him were screaming for him to let it go, and the ball left his fingertips just in time.

Shaw supplements his veteran's minimum income by winning most of the long-distance shooting contests at Laker practices, so everyone assumed it would go in when he shot it.

"Brian's the luckiest guy going anyway," said Kareem Rush, who got Shaw the ball off a broken dribble-weave play. "He hits all kinds of shots like that. I knew that was going in as long as I got it to him."

*

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Larry Burnett on KLAC's pregame show he'd been contacted by the station about auditioning for its open color-analyst job next season.

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