Los Angeles Lakers: oranges

It's not often Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter steal the show in El Segundo. Frankly, it's not often the media pays much attention to the rookies, period. But having just undergone an MRI for the stress fracture in his left leg, a few scribes gathered around Devin for test results. The kid's been out since March 5, and unfortunately has at least three more weeks remaining before he's cleared. It's a situation he's learned to begrudgingly accept.

"I feel fine," nodded Ebanks. "I guess it's one of those things where it's not ready yet. I gotta wait it out.

"It's definitely stressful, especially being in practice and wanting to be out there with your teammates. Be a part of it, really. Even when you're sitting on the sideline with the team, you don't really feel a part of it."

But despite the inherently glum nature of an injury discussion, there were laughs to be mined. I asked Ebanks if he's been playing the "I'm injured" card as a way pushing rookie duties onto Derrick Caracter, who happened to working out nearby. "That's already been happening," Caracter shot back. "That card doesn't need to be played." Caracter relayed how Ebanks has been pulling "10-year veteran moves," like picking just the right time to ice up "for an hour."

"He's just complaining right now," laughed Ebanks. "I guess they just like to pick on him more than me. He's jealous."



Caracter then told us to ask Ebanks how many towels he'd picked up that day, and it was on like Donkey Kong. Devin motioned us over to a large whiteboard featuring a Derrick Caracter stick figure drawn by the small forward. (I'll go out on a limb and predict Ebanks took few, if any, art classes at West Virginia.) Ebanks' rendition of Caracter included a size 18XL jersey, size 10XL shorts and a bag of oranges in each hand, commemorating how the big man likes to eat an orange during a game.

Or by Ebanks' count, "20 or 30" oranges.



Caracter insisted Ebanks was exaggerating, although his own estimation of 15 oranges per game still ventures into Cool Hand Luke and "50 eggs" territory. I have to assume these are small oranges, but even so, my gut would likely be in agony after 15, and I've been known to stuff my face. For the rookie, however, the courtside consumption is apparently no big thing. "I like to keep my vitamins right," shrugged Caracter, who noted how Ron Artest and Lamar Odom are big proponents of oranges.



It wasn't officially announced until after practice closed, but Caracter has been assigned to the D-League's Bakersfield Jam squad. I don't know how familiar the rook is with Bakersfield, but it shouldn't take too long to locate a grocery store and maintain his citrus fix. Although really, should orange shopping evolve into an all-night activity, so be it. If Caracter is gonna to hit the town, I imagine the coaching staff would prefer the kid be trolling supermarkets on the hunt for the perfect Cara Cara than perhaps other spots with a higher potential for shenanigans.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
24.6 4.9 1.4 35.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.2
AssistsK. Bryant 4.9
StealsR. Price 1.5
BlocksE. Davis 1.2