Horace Grant was unable to endure his scheduled rehabilitation program Wednesday morning, a setback for the Laker forward who hopes to participate in the playoffs despite an injured hip.
Told nearly three weeks ago that the torn labrum required surgery, Grant hoped to recover enough by mid-April to play short spans in the playoffs. He planned to undergo surgery when the season was over.
But the pain has returned.
Grant could not exercise Tuesday, but he expected to resume his rehabilitation Wednesday. Unable to do so, his plan to test his hip Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies is in jeopardy, as is any chance to play before the regular season concludes April 14.
"I'm an optimistic person," Grant said. "Who knows, maybe another week of rehab or rest will allow it to come around."
At stake is his place on the playoff roster, which must be set by the first round.
Grant is a valuable defender and backup to both center Shaquille O'Neal and power forward Karl Malone. Even limited to short stints, his availability would be an asset.
But he has played only 10 minutes since March 2, and Coach Phil Jackson and General Manager Mitch Kupchak will weigh the risk of carrying Grant against, say, a healthy Brian Cook or Bryon Russell.
While the rest of the team struggled Tuesday against Portland, Rick Fox had perhaps his best game of the season. In 21 minutes, he scored 11 points, made three of four three-point shots, took four rebounds and did not have a turnover.