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Calf Stops Jones’ Good Start

Times Staff Writer

Jumaine Jones, the leading scorer among Laker reserves, became the latest Laker to take a turn on the injured list.

Jones will sit out at least five games after sustaining a strained right calf while taking part in layup lines at halftime of Tuesday’s game against New Orleans. The Lakers took Slava Medvedenko off the injured list, but he did not play Wednesday against Memphis.

Jones had nine points in the first half Tuesday but he felt a pop in his calf after making a layup a few minutes before the third quarter began. Jones is not eligible to return until the Nov. 21 game against Chicago.

“Nobody wants to be on the injured list, especially after the start I had [Tuesday] night,” said Jones, averaging 5.8 points with the Lakers. “It’s kind of frustrating.”

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Jones, 25, was off to a good start with the Lakers after being a non-factor last season with the Boston Celtics. He had sustained a strained hamstring before last season and never found a consistent place in the Celtic lineup, averaging 2.2 points in only 42 games.

With the Lakers, Jones had found a comfort zone as Caron Butler’s backup at small forward.

“We have not had very good luck with injuries, but everybody’s going to go through that,” Laker Coach Rudy Tomjanovich said.

Jones is the Lakers’ fourth frontcourt player to be sidelined.

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Center Vlade Divac has not practiced or played yet because of a herniated disk in his back. Forward Devean George has been out since undergoing off-season ankle surgery in July. Medvedenko has been out almost three weeks because of a sore heel.

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Butler had his sprained left ankle hooked up to an electro-stimulation apparatus, which seemed to trigger a past medical memory of his in Memphis.

Butler, in his third NBA season, said he was battling a severe fever as a fresh-faced rookie with the Miami Heat when he received a late-night phone call from Pat Riley, then the coach of the Heat.

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Riley’s message, as Butler remembered it: You need to fly to Memphis for tomorrow’s game.

Butler, who had already missed three games because of flu-like symptoms, did as he was told, figuring he’d be a spectator. Instead, he was inserted into the game and scored 24 points in 35 minutes.

“I figured I had 14 years to play in this league,” Butler said, smiling. “He took three of them from me.”

Butler played only one season under Riley.

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Medvedenko did not suit up against the Grizzlies because Tomjanovich said he lacked practice time with the team.... The Lakers will practice today in Orlando, their only non-game day in a four-game, five-night stretch. They will finish the trip with games against the Magic on Friday and against Houston on Saturday.


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