Concussion sidelines Ron Artest
It has been a while since a Lakers player sat out a game because of an off-court injury, but it happened Saturday when Ron Artest stayed in Los Angeles because of a concussion he suffered at home, according to the Lakers and Artest’s agent.
There was some confusion over the details of Artest’s injury, although a team spokesperson clarified that the 30-year-old forward fell down a flight of stairs while carrying a box and didn’t trip over a box, as was believed earlier in the day.
Artest injured his elbow and needed stitches in the back of his head. He was treated at the UCLA Medical Center emergency room Friday night, released after undergoing a series of tests that included a CT scan, and consulted with a neurologist Saturday in Los Angeles, at which point he was deemed out of the game against Sacramento because of a concussion.
The Lakers’ next game is Monday against Phoenix.
“I think he’ll be in Phoenix,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “I’m not sure, but I just anticipate his desire to be here will put him in Phoenix.”
Kobe Bryant thought Artest would be back soon, joking that the concussion wouldn’t last “with the head he’s got. He’ll be fine.”
A Lakers player hadn’t sat out a game because of an off-court injury since Vladimir Radmanovic suffered a separated shoulder while snowboarding in Utah in February 2007. Radmanovic initially said he slipped on a patch of ice but eventually confessed and was fined $500,000 by the Lakers.
Jackson didn’t seem to suspect any storytelling in Artest’s case.
“My interpretation is an accident happened and he fell down and ended up in the hospital and came out of it with stitches and sutures,” Jackson said matter-of-factly.
A hospital spokesman declined to comment, citing patient privacy laws. Artest’s agent, David Bauman, said Artest fell shortly after the Lakers’ 102-87 home loss to Cleveland on Friday.
“He had a little bit of a scare,” Bauman said. “It was an hour after the game. He just needed some stitches. If they had any concern at all, they would have kept him overnight. Assuming all is OK, they’ll probably pop him on a plane [today] and he’ll make it to Phoenix.”
Artest, 30, is averaging 12.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in his first season with the Lakers. He was replaced by Lamar Odom in the starting lineup against Sacramento.
Jackson said the Lakers would miss Artest for however long he was sidelined.
“He brings a certain physical presence to our game,” Jackson said.
Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy spoke out against playing games on Christmas and said the league should take a five-day break during the holidays.
Jackson appeared to agree, though he didn’t think it would ever happen.
“I think they do that in Europe with their soccer leagues -- they have hiatuses where they take a couple weeks off here and there,” Jackson said.
“That’s a profession that’s existed probably longer than ours by some terms. But ours runs on television [revenue], and as you know . . . it’s very important to provide entertainment for people.”