Things go downhill fast for Chris Kaman and Lakers at Great Wall
BEIJING — Pau Gasol attacked the Great Wall of China with enough fervor that he had to buy a souvenir T-shirt after sweating through what he wore while hiking.
But the wall attacked back.
Despite avoiding the sometimes thick and aggressive crowds, the Lakers didn’t escape unscathed in their two hours Sunday at the wall.
Chris Kaman crushed one of his fingers while tobogganing down a slippery concrete track.
Yes. Kaman. Toboggan. Great Wall.
His sled, essentially a wheeled cart with a brake, was rammed from behind by teammate Shawne Williams. Kaman instinctively put out his hand as he saw Williams careening toward him and, well, ouch.
Visitors to the Mutianyu portion of the wall take a gondola or cable car to the top of a hill where the wall is located. They return the same way or toboggan down.
“I didn’t hit the brake the whole time. Guys on the edge were yelling ‘Slow down’ and I just kept going,” Kaman said. “All of a sudden I catch up to this guy close to the bottom, so now I have to brake. Shawne Williams comes behind me without hitting his brake at all and just smashed right into me.”
He said he was going only about 3 mph and Williams was going 20-25 mph at impact.
“My hand smashed right between the two sleds. I didn’t feel the end of my finger for, like, an hour,” Kaman said, exhibiting a bandaged, swollen middle finger. “It’s starting to throb a little right now.”
Will he play Tuesday against Golden State in an exhibition here?
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Kaman said, and in fact he did practice here Monday.
Kaman has played well in exhibition games, forming some frontcourt chemistry with Gasol and averaging 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, three assists and 22.7 minutes.
Bryant is ready to run
Kobe Bryant was still reluctant to provide a timetable for his return but hinted he could play . . . sort of. He planned to run on the court Monday, the day before the Lakers played Golden State.
“After I get out there today and run around a little bit, I might have a better idea,” Bryant said. “If today was a playoff [game] or NBA Finals, could I play? Probably. I don’t know how well I would play, but I’d get out there and do something.”
Bryant, though, has said he needs three weeks of conditioning before practicing with the team, which opens the regular season Oct. 29 against the Clippers.
“I’ve been running on a treadmill and I feel pretty damn good,” he said. “I haven’t pushed it, pushed it, pushed it yet. I’ve done some pretty heavy running on the treadmill over the last three days.
“I haven’t had any pain or any soreness whatsoever. It’s kind of a flexibility thing, getting the range of motion back.”
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