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Brand Says Ticket to Athens Not in Cards

March 21, 2004|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

The Clippers could throw together some pretty competitive pickup games this summer.

One day after Serb point guard Marko Jaric indicated strongly that he would sit out the Olympics because of a foot injury, Elton Brand said Saturday that he does not expect to be asked to join the U.S. team in Athens.

"I think my services have been rendered," he said, laughing. "I did what I could do. I helped us get to the Olympics.... I'm not stressing it either way, but I don't think [I'm going]."

Brand, the Clippers' leading rebounder and No. 2 scorer, helped the U.S. win an Olympic-qualifying tournament last summer in Puerto Rico. A year earlier, he represented the United States in the World Championships at Indianapolis.

But he was a longshot to make the Olympic team. Nine players already are on the U.S. team, among them two former MVPs who play the same position: power forwards Karl Malone of the Lakers and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs. When word leaked last week that another power forward, Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves, had been asked to sign on, Brand saw the writing on the wall.

Though disappointed, he tried to look on the bright side.

"I don't want to sound unpatriotic," he said, "but the fact that it doesn't look like I'm going definitely could be a positive when it comes to the NBA season because I could use that time to rest."

Brand has been nagged by injuries the last two seasons. He sat out most of training camp before last season after knee surgery, the result of an injury suffered in training for the World Championships, and later was sidelined for more than a month because of a stress fracture in his left leg.

In October, he suffered a broken left foot that sidelined him for 13 games. An injury to his right hand, though it hasn't caused him to sit out, has bothered him for months and, he said, probably will require surgery at season's end.

He'd welcome some time off.

"I'm looking forward to that," he acknowledged, "but I'd also be honored to have a chance to get a gold medal, if that opportunity was there. But I'm definitely looking forward to being fresh for this team because we're ready to turn a corner."



vs. Golden State, 12:30 p.m.

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- XTRA (690/1150).

Records -- Clippers 27-42, Warriors 28-40.

Record vs. Warriors -- 2-0.

Update -- Like the Clippers, the Warriors have struggled away from home. Road Warriors, they're not, with a 7-27 record outside Oakland. For the Clippers, who have lost 10 of their last 12 games, Quentin Richardson is questionable after sitting out Friday's 106-100 loss to the Lakers because of back spasms.

Tickets -- (800) 462-2849.

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