<
>

Shaq not cleared to run, but doing well

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal was
told Friday his recovery from toe surgery is progressing as
expected, although he still hasn't been cleared to run on the
court.

For now he'll have to content himself with working out on a
bike and watching his teammates run.

He knows that the Lakers have starters Kobe Bryant and Derek
Fisher in the backcourt and Brian Shaw and rookie Kareem Rush as
the backups.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson doesn't like to play rookies, but Rush
may have to see some action.

"It could be a needy position, actually,'' Jackson said. "It
might be out of necessity, and that's a possibility, and a likely
one.''

With just four Lakers guards signed to contracts, veteran Shaw
may also see more playing time.

Shaw averaged 10.9 minutes per game last season, the lowest in
his three years with the Lakers.

"Nobody has said anything to me about upping the minutes,''
said Shaw, 36. "I came in in pretty good shape, a little bit
lighter. So I'm ready for whatever.''

Asked if he could play 20 minutes a game if needed, Shaw grinned
and said: "Yeah.''

"I think that's a direct result of what happened last year,''
he continued. "I was able to save up a lot of energy. I can still
tap into that resource. Whatever situation arises, I'll be ready
for it.''

In past seasons the Lakers have had a logjam at the guard
position. Not so this year.

"But I think Devean (George) will slide down and play a little
bit more guard this year and Kobe will probably play some point,''
Shaw said.

"So you can throw that more into the mix as opposed to just me
logging more minutes. Like I said, I welcome it. I'm fine with it.
But I'll just have to wait and see what happens.''

Shaw made sure he worked out this summer at his off-season home
in Oakland Hills, running two to four miles a day.

He returned to training camp weighing 205, the lightest he's
been in six years.

He also remembered what Robert Parish, his former Boston Celtics
teammate, told him early in his career.

"One of the things I learned from Robert Parish when I first
came into the league is that as you get older, the basketball part
of it, you retain that because you have been playing for so long,''
Shaw said. "It's important to try and keep your wind. I try to
keep that in mind.''