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Introductions Needed for Horry

Times Staff Writer

Robert Horry spent seven seasons with the Lakers, winning three championships and the admiration of Laker fans for his late-game playoff baskets.

But what he saw across the court from him Friday night struck him as highly unusual.

“It’s funny,” said Horry, in his second season with the San Antonio Spurs. “You look out there and you’re like, ‘What’s Kobe [Bryant] doing out there playing with the Heat?’ ”

The Lakers have obviously changed since Horry played for them.

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With Shaquille O’Neal in Miami, Derek Fisher in Northern California and Rick Fox in retirement, Horry has played with only four current Lakers.

Horry praised Laker Coach Rudy Tomjanovich, for whom he spent four seasons playing in Houston, but he thought it would take a while for the current Laker edition to prosper. Nine new players and a new system usually adds up to an extended adjustment period.

“It’s probably going to be up and down because you’ve got new guys trying to play with other new guys,” Horry said. “They’re still working out a couple kinks.”

Horry had seven points and one rebound in 25 minutes for the Spurs in their 105-96 victory.

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Karl Malone is getting closer to a full recovery from knee surgery and should be physically ready to play in a few weeks. Then it becomes decision time: Come back for a 20th season or retire.

“Karl’s still looking at his options,” his agent, Dwight Manley, said Friday.

Malone, who averaged 13.2 points and 8.7 rebounds last season, is still believed to be committed to the Lakers if he chooses to play again.

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Malone had surgery on his right knee in June to promote blood flow after doctors found a small lesion in the cartilage of his knee. New Jersey guard Jason Kidd, who had similar surgery within a week of Malone, is expected to return early next month.

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Forward Slava Medvedenko, hobbled by a bruised heel, could come off the injured list next week and play in Wednesday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Center Vlade Divac, however, is not expected to return for at least two more weeks because of a herniated disk in his back.


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