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Derek Fisher's brief scare highlights lack of depth at guard

He misses more than four minutes of game because of minor strain in left groin muscle. Kobe Bryant plays point in absence of injured Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic. Rookie Sun Yue awaits in wings.

January 15, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

SAN ANTONIO — Now starting for the Lakers, rookie Sun Yue.

OK, maybe not, but the depth chart at ball-handling guard flashed before the Lakers' eyes after Derek Fisher left Wednesday's game because of a minor strain in his left groin muscle.

He was injured while guarding San Antonio's George Hill on a drive and called time out a few seconds later. He walked into the locker room with longtime trainer Gary Vitti and missed almost 4 1/2 minutes of actual game time, emerging with 3:37 left in the fourth quarter.

With Jordan Farmar out at least another month because of knee surgery and Sasha Vujacic day-to-day because of back spasms, the Lakers were forced to use Kobe Bryant at point guard until Fisher returned.

Sun, who had one steal in a little more than a minute of game action against San Antonio, probably won't see an increase in playing time. Fisher said he felt fine after the game and planned to play Friday against Orlando.

"I just kind of tweaked something," Fisher said. "It didn't affect me the rest of the way. I anticipate I'll be fine and I'm looking forward to Friday night."

It's been that kind of a month for the Lakers, who have had numerous players injured or, in Fisher's case, flirting with injury.

Lamar Odom, who returned Tuesday against Houston, was still in pain from a bone bruise on his right knee and compared himself to Humpty Dumpty.

"Fall off the wall, put myself together, ready to go again," he said.

Odom had nine points, five rebounds and three assists against San Antonio.

It was unclear whether Vujacic would play Friday after missing two games because of his back.

"We're not sure," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "It hasn't responded [to treatment] as quickly as we'd hoped."

Forward Luke Walton missed his seventh consecutive game because of a sore right foot and wasn't expected to play Friday.

Walton had been working out on an elliptical machine when the team left town Monday, but he hadn't started to run yet, Jackson said.

The Lakers weren't thinking about getting any replacement players, either by trade or, more likely, a 10-day contract . . . at least not on Wednesday.

"We don't want to talk about that right now," Jackson said.


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