Injury May Keep Olowokandi on Bench

Times Staff Writer

Center Michael Olowokandi practiced with his teammates Saturday but couldn’t participate in all the drills. He is not expected to play today against the Indiana Pacers, sitting out for the third game because of a bruised right thigh suffered when Laker center Shaquille O’Neal kneed him Monday.

And that means the Clippers will play their 43rd game this season without all of their top 12 players healthy.

Shooting guard Eric Piatkowski returned to the court in Friday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the Clippers were without Olowokandi and point guard Andre Miller, who returned to Los Angeles to attend his stepfather’s funeral Saturday. Miller was scheduled to rejoin the team late Saturday and to play today against the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers.


Injuries are one of the primary reasons the Clippers are in last place in the Pacific Division, 10 games below the .500 mark and losers of 10 of their last 15 games.

“I’m happy with the way we’re playing,” Coach Alvin Gentry said as he slumped in a folding chair after the Clippers’ 88-85 loss Friday to the Timberwolves. “The only thing I’m not happy about are the results. To come up with that kind of effort [without Olowokandi and Miller] and to come up with nothing to show for it.... It’s a Catch-22 situation. I like the way we’re playing, but we have nothing to show for it.”

Power forward Elton Brand said that had the Clippers won Friday against Minnesota, “Our morale would have gone through the roof. ... I know our record isn’t showing it, but we are playing better.”



at Indiana, 10 a.m. PST, Ch. 5

Site -- Conseco Fieldhouse.

Radio -- XTRA (1150).

Records -- Clippers 16-26, Pacers 31-12.

Record vs. Pacers -- 0-1.

Update -- The Pacers have won three of four games and eight of 10. Their 20-1 home record is the league’s best. Their only home defeat came Nov. 23 by 106-91 to the Detroit Pistons. Indiana has won nine consecutive games over the Clippers at Indianapolis, dating to Jan. 8, 1992.