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George Is Ticketed for Injured List

Times Staff Writer

Devean George, who has not played since Nov. 8 because of tendinitis in his ankle, probably will be put on the injured list when Shaquille O’Neal comes off, as soon as today.

Team officials have compared George’s injury to one Kobe Bryant suffered two seasons ago, when he sat out all but 11 minutes over 10 games in March and April.

George, whose 11.7-point average is second on the team to Bryant’s 29.4, would have to spend a minimum of five games off the active roster.

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Soumaila Samake, O’Neal’s preseason choice for backup center, is eligible to play tonight after serving a five-game suspension for violating the terms of the league’s steroid policy.

Mark Madsen, who has yet to play because of a strained hamstring, is “very close” to coming off the injured list after a good practice Thursday, according to Coach Phil Jackson.

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Chicago center Eddy Curry, on his duty tonight: “It will definitely be the type of game where you try not to get caught up in the hype and think, ‘This is the real thing right here; this is Shaq.’ All I can do is play. I’m an NBA player. But at times you think, ‘This is Shaq and Kobe.’ It’s always like that, but this time it’s on a different scale.”

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Former Laker Mike Penberthy visited during Thursday’s practice. He plays professionally in Italy.... Industry insiders expect Bryant to sign with Nike in February.

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TONIGHT

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vs. Chicago, 7:30, FSN

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- KLAC (570), KWKW (1330).

Records -- Lakers 3-9, Bulls 4-8.

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Record vs. Bulls (2001-02) -- 0-2.

Update -- Here’s how it went last year: The Lakers went to Chicago, Brad Miller and Charles Oakley hacked O’Neal into such a frenzy that O’Neal threw a punch at the back of Miller’s head. Though he missed, he was suspended for three games. The Lakers lost in overtime, but promised revenge. So, three weeks later, with O’Neal resting his sore toe at Staples Center and Kobe Bryant scoring 38 points, the Bulls won again. The Bulls have lost four of five games, most recently Wednesday at Golden State.


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