Lakers’ Artest is cleared to practice after fall

Lakers forward Ron Artest sat out his fifth consecutive game since sustaining a concussion Christmas night, but he has been cleared to practice today.

It’s unclear if he will be back Tuesday against Houston.

Said Artest: “No, I don’t think that’s realistic.”

Said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson: “We’re hopeful.”

Whether he plays, Artest is done discussing the details of the Dec. 25 incident, which he said happened when he fell down a flight of stairs while carrying a box at his home.

“It was scary,” he said. “I don’t even like talking about it anymore.”

Artest said he wasn’t bothered by headaches or nausea but felt dizzy for several days after sustaining the concussion.

“The first day I shot, I was shooting free throws and I almost fell off the free-throw line,” he said. “I was wobbling and the room started spinning, so I just stopped. I just did a real simple layup and it felt like the floor was not even underneath me. That was . . . five, six days ago. And then I started to get better every day.”

Artest understood the precautions that came with a head injury.

“Once that computer’s not rebooting no more, it’s going to be over,” he said, presumably talking about his brain.

Kobe Bryant’s minutes had increased dramatically in Artest’s absence, though Bryant finally got a break with a relatively modest 32 minutes in the Lakers’ 131-96 victory Sunday against Dallas.

“Me being out is a challenge for him,” Artest said. “He’s not going to say, ‘I can’t wait ‘til you get back Ron.’ He’s going to say, ‘We don’t really need you right now. We’re going to win anyway.’ That’s why I love him.”

Technically speaking

Bryant leads the league in scoring but is third in a less desirable category.

He has nine technical fouls, trailing Boston center-forward Rasheed Wallace, who has 11, and Boston center Kendrick Perkins, who has 10.

If a player gets 16 technical fouls in the regular season, he is suspended for a game. He is then suspended one game for every two technical fouls after that. Bryant has come close in recent seasons, collecting 15 technical fouls in 2007-08, 14 in 2006-07 and 15 in 2005-06. He had 11 such last season.

Gun talk

After news reports of Washington Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton brandishing guns in the locker room, Jackson was asked about guns in the NBA.

The Lakers coach said he thought some players had past experiences that made them “feel that [guns] are warranted.”

“My message is that it attracts violence, there’s no doubt about it. The violence that happens around guns is death usually.”

On the other hand, Jackson said he didn’t completely abhor guns.

“I believe in the Constitution,” he said. “I believe that a citizen has a right to carry a gun, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t have any quarter for pistols. I don’t think there’s any reason to carry a small firearm like that.”

Jackson said he reminded players they needed a license if they owned any firearms.