Phil Jackson was matter-of-fact rather than angry as he said after the morning practice about Lamar Odom: “He’s not in shape. Lamar’s not ready to play."
Odom has been seen dragging with the stragglers in practice-ending wind sprints, and Jackson said Odom’s take-it-easy summer has led to a somewhat slow start for him in trying to play more of a quarterback role in the early triangle-offense practices of camp. He said Odom, despite getting fatigued, has done “OK.
Odom said he chose to rest over the summer to ease the tendinitis that bothered him basically all last season. Odom especially had problems with his right knee that he sprained two seasons ago, costing him 21 games in 2006-07.
Jackson expressed some disappointment that Odom didn’t do more with his offseason given that he wasn’t having surgery, as he has so often before.
Jackson said it remains to be seen if Odom hurt himself — before he becomes a free agent at season’s end — by not working hard enough over the summer.
“He has to find that out for himself," Jackson said. “That’s something you experiment with. But in our exit meetings (in June) with Lamar, we talked about the fact that he hasn’t had the opportunity to work on his body in the offseason for the past three or four years, actually. So this was really an opportunity to strengthen his shoulder and do some things that were going to help him in a pivotal year for him – not only for him, but for us."
On the bright side for Odom, when answering a different question about Andrew Bynum, Jackson ran through a list of the other starters and included Odom with Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol.
Very disappointing to hear about Lamar...
During Thursday’s morning session guard Sasha Vujacic saw improvement in the ankle that he sprained Monday night.
“Well I can walk so that’s a good thing. I’m not limping anymore. But the only thing of concern is on the side there is a tendon, so we’ll see how long it will take," Vujacic said. “Hopefully just a couple of days."
While the limp is gone, Sasha still found it hard to move laterally and therefore did not practice with the rest of his teammates this morning.
“The treatments are going good so no concern there."