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Brown Injury Is a Concern

Times Staff Writer

Just when Kwame Brown appeared to be getting on track, he might be slowed by an injury.

Brown suffered what initially appeared to be a minor hamstring injury Friday night near the end of the Lakers’ 101-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

But Coach Phil Jackson was somewhat concerned Saturday. Although Brown was at practice and worked out, he was kept off the court.

Jackson said of Brown’s right hamstring, “I don’t think you’d say it’s torn, I think it’s just a slight cramp. There’s some tightness there.”

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Jackson said Brown’s injury would be further evaluated today, before the team’s game against the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center.

“I don’t want to say he might not play,” Jackson said. “I just want to say we have to think about possibilities. It’s very possible that he may be able to come out and play at full level once he gets warm.”

However, Jackson added that he’d rather give Brown the night off than aggravate the injury. He said how much Brown plays probably would be determined by how the game goes.

Brown was the overall No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft, selected by the Washington Wizards straight out of high school, but has not lived up to that billing. However, Brown, acquired in an off-season trade, is coming off his best week as a Laker.

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In the last three games, Brown, starting in place of injured center Chris Mihm, averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds and made 19 of 29 field-goal attempts. In the second of the three games, he had 21 points and 12 rebounds in a victory over Sacramento. He had 16 points and nine rebounds Friday.

If Brown is not at full strength, it would probably mean more playing time tonight for Andrew Bynum, even though Jackson recently has been critical of the 18-year-old rookie’s play.

TONIGHT

vs. New Orleans, 6:30, FSN West

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- 570, 1330.

Records -- Lakers 37-34, Hornets 32-35.

Record vs. Hornets -- 1-1.

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Update -- The Lakers will be attempting to win four consecutive games for the first time since early December. The Hornets have lost 10 of their last 11. Their only victory in that stretch was a 120-108 win over the Clippers on Tuesday.


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