Sampson of Rockets Is Sidelined at Least 5 Games--Sprained Ankle

Ralph Sampson, the taller half of the Houston Rockets’ Twin Towers, will not play Saturday when the Lakers and Rockets open their National Basketball Assn. regular-season schedules in a nationally televised game at Houston.

The 7-foot 4-inch Sampson has been bothered throughout the exhibition season by a sprained left ankle. He missed the last two exhibition games and was put on the injured list Thursday, meaning he will miss at least five games.

Jim Petersen, 6-10, will start alongside 7-foot Akeem Olajuwon against the Lakers. Petersen, who reported to training camp late after testing the free-agent market, hurt the Lakers off the bench in last season’s Western Conference final, which the Rockets won in five games.

Meanwhile, Laker reserve center Petur Gudmundsson’s status will be determined Saturday. Gudmundsson, suffering from back spasms, missed Thursday’s workout.


A.C. Green, who tore a ligament in his left thumb last Friday night during an exhibition game in Albuquerque, N.M., had the cast removed Thursday and might begin working out, wearing a splint, early next week.