Malone sidelined at least three games
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Karl Malone will miss at least three games because of a sprained knee ligament, a rare injury for Lakers' star forward.
Malone, who has missed only 11 games in his 18-plus NBA seasons, had an MRI examination Monday, and the news was better than expected. When the injury occurred in Sunday night's game against Phoenix, Malone said he heard something pop in his right knee.
``It is good news. I think it's really good news,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after Monday's practice. ``We have to look at it that way.''
Lakers spokesman John Black said Malone, 40, will be re-evaluated next week by Dr. Steve Lombardo, who performed the MRI at the Kerlin-Jobe/HealthSouth Orthopedic Clinic.
Malone, the NBA's second leading career scorer, was injured in the first four minutes of the Lakers' 107-101 victory over Phoenix when he was fouled by Scott Williams.
Malone has played in 1,458 regular-season games while missing only 11 _ six because of injury or illness, and five due to suspension. He'll add to that total starting Tuesday night when the Lakers play at Golden State.
Malone will also miss the Lakers' game on Christmas Day against Houston and Sunday night's contest against Boston. Both will be played at Staples Center.
Malone is averaging 14 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 24 games this season _ his first with the Lakers. Malone played his first 18 NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz.
``We're just happy that it's not too serious,'' teammate Kobe Bryant said. ``We have to have guys come off the bench and make significant contributions.''