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Lakers' Ron Artest hasn't been the same since concussion

Forward plays only 19 minutes against Milwaukee after falling in the first minute of the game.

January 12, 2010|By Broderick Turner

It was Ron Artest's fourth game back after missing the previous five because of a concussion suffered on Christmas night.

Because Artest has been so inconsistent, so indifferent with his game, so nonaggressive once again, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was asked to assess his small forward's game after another dismal outing.

Jackson then acknowledged that Artest may have felt some "dizziness" from a jarring fall in which Artest hit his head on the court after he was fouled by Milwaukee's Michael Redd 13 seconds into Sunday night's game between the Lakers and Bucks at Staples Center.

Artest was never the same, asking twice to come out of the game, prompting Jackson to say the team may have Artest get examined again.

"Tonight was an interesting night. He had banged his head and I think it affected his game when he went down -- he and Redd early in the ballgame," Jackson said. "I think he cracked his beam on that thing and he asked out of the ballgame twice in the course of the night, in the first and third quarter."

Artest played only 19 minutes 26 seconds against the Bucks.

He took only two shots, making one, scoring just two points.

After the game, Artest was asked if he hurt his head from the fall.

"Not really," Artest said. "When I fell, I was a little bit . . . It was my first time falling, really, like that. I was a little nervous. I was a little nervous. But everything is all right."

Is he still feeling the effects of the concussion?

"No," Artest responded. "I'm way beyond that."

Was Jackson exaggerating with his comments or even wrong about Artest being dizzy?

"Phil is always telling the truth," Artest said, smiling. "The Zen Master is never wrong. You know what I mean?"

How do you feel about being evaluated again, like Jackson said?

"It was the same way when I came back," Artest said. "They monitor me. They've got great doctors, great trainers, great everything. I just tell them if I have issues or if I don't. They tell me what to do. I trust whatever they do."

Before the concussion, Artest was starting to find his way in the offense.

He was a willing passer. He could post up. He could make outside shots.

He didn't fully grasp all of the nuances of the triangle offense, but Arest was able to function.

He was averaging 12.3 points per game.

But in four games back since the concussion, Artest hasn't scored in double figures yet. He has only three total assists.

"I still think he's playing a little bit from instinct, or whatever," Jackson said, "instead of being the comfort role that he can play in this offense."

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