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Malcolm Lee expected to play for UCLA in Pac-10 tournament

An MRI exam reveals a small cartilage tear in the junior guard's left knee, but he is assured by doctors that playing won't make it worse. So the Bruins expect to have their best backcourt defender when they face Oregon or Arizona State on Thursday.

March 08, 2011|By Ben Bolch

Malcolm Lee caused a stir Monday afternoon when the UCLA guard tweeted, in not so delicate terms, that his life wasn't going the way he wanted.

The three-letter tweet went viral on fan message boards, with many assuming the worst regarding an MRI exam taken that day on Lee's injured left knee.

Turns out there was no reason to get all atwitter.

Lee was diagnosed with a small cartilage tear but is expected to be in the starting lineup Thursday evening at Staples Center when the Bruins play Oregon or Arizona State in a Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament quarterfinal.

Doctors gave Lee the option to put off surgery until after the season, promising the Bruins' second-leading scorer that he could not aggravate the tear. Surgery is expected to sideline him one month.

"The key to it is that we've been assured that he's not in any danger of injuring it worse," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said Tuesday.

Lee said he wasn't sure exactly when he injured the knee during UCLA's 58-54 overtime victory at Washington State on Saturday, only that he started feeling discomfort after falling underneath the basket with 8.9 seconds left in regulation.

"I didn't get hit in my lower body, I didn't hyperextend it," he said. "I just got up and it was acting funny."

Lee said his pain "comes and goes," but he expected to be able to play 35 minutes or so Thursday. Howland said he might slightly reduce Lee's minutes, particularly if the Bruins advanced past the quarterfinal round.

But guards Jerime Anderson and Tyler Lamb, who would absorb Lee's minutes, were both ailing Tuesday. Anderson sat out practice because of an illness that has bothered him since Sunday, and Lamb was diagnosed with strep throat.

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