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Rooks at Least Makes an Effort

The trade rumors?

“I heard them all,” Sean Rooks said. “At first they bothered me.”

The emotions?

“Real down,” he said. “No playing time gets you down.”

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The poor conditioning?

“I don’t like the fact that I’m not playing more, but I’m starting to feel better.”

So it is that a new Rooks has emerged for the Lakers of late, one who still doesn’t get many minutes, even when Shaquille O’Neal is injured, one who could remain the subject of trade talks up until the Feb. 20 deadline. But one who has now become a positive to the Lakers, at least in approach if not with on-court contributions.

“He’s getting in better shape and is looking real active,” Coach Del Harris said. “He’s put in a couple pretty good weeks.”

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Wednesday night, Eddie Jones played at the Forum. Friday morning, he arrived in Cleveland for the All-Star weekend. Monday morning, at about 6:30, he flew from Cleveland to Los Angeles to rejoin the Lakers for practice that night. Tuesday afternoon, he flew with them to Minneapolis.

Wednesday night, he played 33 minutes and contributed 19 points and six rebounds to the victory over the Timberwolves.

“That first three minutes was hard for me,” Jones said. “I was so happy when that first timeout came.”


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