Injured Brown won’t make trip, Jackson says

Times Staff Writer

Christmas isn’t coming early for Kwame Brown.

He was supposed to travel on the Lakers’ upcoming four-game trip, but Coach Phil Jackson decided against it because Brown “couldn’t get on the floor and practice with us yet.”

Brown began rattling off one-liners as soon as reporters told him what Jackson said Sunday.

“I’ll inbound the ball,” he said. “Just let me go.”

He has been trying to recover from injuries and boredom since Chicago center Ben Wallace tumbled into his left knee and ankle on Nov. 18. He has missed 14 games with moderate sprains and was acerbic when told he would apparently be skipping another trip -- which also meant more one-on-one workout time with athletic performance director Chip Schaefer.


“Usually Chip stays back and works out the guys . . . but you don’t want to stay back with Chip. It’s no fun,” Brown said, smiling. “Whatever part of your body that’s not hurting, you will work it.”

Brown has been able to run in a straight line but has had trouble cutting and stopping quickly.

“My knee tends to, like, give out a little and I can’t really get back to position,” Brown said.

The ankle is still problematic as well.

“Some days the ankle feels great, some days it swells up and doesn’t,” he said.

Still, Jackson expressed hope that Brown would return to the practice court next Monday, a day after the Lakers return from their trip.

Brown, in the last year of a contract that pays him $9.1 million this season, is averaging 4.3 points and five rebounds a game.


The Lakers’ trip consists of four games against teams with a combined 35-57 record, perhaps a rare chance to actually gain ground in the Western Conference standings while on the road.

Chicago (8-13) and Philadelphia (10-14) have played a little better lately and struggling Cleveland (10-14) just got LeBron James back, while New York (7-16) has been hopeless throughout the season.

Jackson wasn’t quite ready to predict a 4-0 trip.

“Chicago’s notoriously had slow Novembers on the road and come out in December after a homestand and play really well the rest of the year in their home court,” he said. “The other three games [are] later on in the week, and it’s three in four nights.”

This trip will seem like a one-nighter compared to the nine-game odyssey awaiting them in six weeks.

“We have extended road games later in the season, but this is a good swing for us at this time,” Jackson said. “It’s the right time for us to go out on the road and kind of balance our schedule out a little bit.”