Karl Malone sprained a ligament in his right knee in the first quarter of Game 2, the same injury that caused him to sit out 39 games in the middle of the season.
The Laker medical staff did not know if Malone would be available for Game 3.
Asked whether he had an idea about playing Thursday night, Malone said, "No, not really."
Malone told trainer Gary Vitti that the pain and sensations were similar, that his knee felt wobbly when he walked on it and that it was again weak. He is expected to visit Dr. Ralph Venuto, the specialist who treated the original tear, before the Lakers fly to Detroit this afternoon.
Still, Malone pushed through 39 minutes in Game 2, nearly 30 of them after he twisted his knee. Vitti tried to have him return to the trainer's room at the time of the recurrence, and Malone refused.
Surprised to learn from a reporter that his girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, had told a radio station she was 95% sure he'd return to the Lakers next season, Phil Jackson said he was no closer to a decision.
Jackson's agent, Todd Musburger, said there has been no renewal of negotiations with owner Jerry Buss, and the coach said nothing had changed.
"She freelanced on that," Jackson said.
The Lakers broke off negotiations with Jackson's representative in February, and there have been no discussions since.
After watching Game 1 again, Jackson came to believe that Kobe Bryant's offense -- 10 for 27 from the floor, one for six on three-point shots -- might have been weakened by Bryant's defense.
So, the plan for Game 2 was to have Bryant spend more time on Chauncey Billups, who scored 22 points in Game 1 but does not bring the same nonstop energy that Hamilton does.
"We like what Kobe did with Hamilton," Jackson said, "yet we don't want to take away from his offensive game."
Still experiencing pain in his neck and right shoulder, Rick Fox was unable to undergo an MRI exam Monday because the machinery was broken. Fox didn't play in Game 2.
Joan C. McIntyre, the mother of the NBA's senior vice president for basketball communications, Brian McIntyre, died Sunday. A funeral will be held Friday in Winnetka, Ill.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to the Retirement Community of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, 140 Valparaiso Ave., Atherton, CA 94027.