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Saturday, October 6, 2007
Bryant sits out practice with sore knee; Turiaf may start this season

Associated Press

HONOLULU -- Kobe Bryant and Luke Walton sat out the Lakers' morning workout Saturday as they recovered from minor injuries.

Bryant rested a sore right knee, while Walton has a strained right hamstring. Coach Phil Jackson said he expected Bryant to participate in the evening practice, but Walton, Lamar Odom and Kwame Brown would not.

"Some of it's preventative, some of it's the two-a-days and the attrition from it," Jackson said.

Walton said he felt a "tug" while running during practice Friday. He expects to return to workouts as early as Monday.

"It's just one of those things where it's only going to be a couple days, but you just can't rush it because it could turn into something a lot worse," he said.

Two years ago in Honolulu, Walton strained his left hamstring late in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' preseason game against the Golden State Warriors and missed a few weeks of the regular season.

Jackson said he was "seriously considering" starting Ronny Turiaf because of his high energy and shot-blocking ability.

"He's somebody who really makes our defense and our offense really sparkle with energy," he said.

That could move Walton to the bench and Odom to small forward. Jackson said the response Saturday by some players was mixed.

"It seems OK. It's neither good nor bad," said Jackson, adding that "compliance is what I'm looking for."

Walton said he just wants to help the team.

"I have an interesting role on the team," he said. "For me, it's not about scoring a certain amount of points or assists, it's doing whatever is needed to help this team win."

The 6-foot-8 Walton averaged career highs of 11.4 points, five rebounds and 4.3 assists in 60 games last season, all starts. He played 33 minutes a game, led the team in scoring twice, five times in rebounds and 18 times in assists.

The Lakers face the Warriors in preseason games on Tuesday and Thursday.