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Divac Finally Practices, but Others Remain Out

Times Staff Writer

Vlade Divac practiced Monday. Kobe Bryant did not.

The situation in the Laker training room has mirrored the situation on the court, good news balanced by bad, soaring victories tempered by crushing losses, the Lakers at .500 (4-4) after two weeks.

Other regulars in Gary Vitti’s training room are Slava Medvedenko (bruised heel), Jumaine Jones (strained right calf) and Devean George (off-season ankle surgery).

Divac, who has yet to play in his return to the Lakers because of a herniated disk in his lower back, joined his teammates for the first time in a full-scale practice at the team’s El Segundo training facility, pronounced himself fit afterward and remained hopeful of playing next week.

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Bryant, plagued by a swelling in his left foot diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, is not planning on missing any games, but his coach, Rudy Tomjanovich, wouldn’t rule out cutting back Bryant’s minutes if the ailment limits him.

“I’ll talk to Kobe, Gary and God,” said Tomjanovich.

Bryant did not speak to the media Monday, but has promised to do so today.

Divac was more accommodating.

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“I’ve been out a long time,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s definitely going to be difficult at first. I feel a step slower than everybody else.”

That makes sense, considering Divac is 36, has been inactive since before training camp and is trying to learn a new system with new teammates.

“We need time to get to know each other,” he said, “but the season is long.”

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Tomjanovich is noted for always trying to find the good in any situation.

Asked Monday about the Lakers’ alarming tendency to blow leads, Tomjanovich said, “The positive is that we got a lead. I’ve been on teams that couldn’t get a lead.”


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