INDIANAPOLIS - To say forward Tom Gugliotta walked
gingerly around the court during shootaround yesterday morning would be
an overstatement. Dealing with lower back pain, he could barely shuffle
across the paint. So, it was a no-brainer when coach Doc Rivers decided
to place Gugliotta on the injured list. The tougher decision was who
would take Gugliotta's place.
how well rookie Delonte West would play after one practice as he
continues to recover from a broken right thumb, Rivers activated
second-round pick Justin Reed. While Rivers would have loved to put West
in uniform when he returns to his college town of Philadelphia tonight
(West went to Saint Joseph's), the coach said he had to do what was best
for the team.
going to be down for a week or so, maybe more," said Rivers. "I just
wanted to fill that spot. With Philly, who plays small ball at times,
and has physical forwards, I thought Justin might be good in a spell."
believes he might have a sprained ligament in his back and he figures
it happened while running downcourt and turning. He hopes five games
will be enough time for his back to heal, but he doesn't know if that
will be the case.
didn't give me a time, but I can't sit here and try to fight it," said
Gugliotta. "The way I'm walking around is kind of embarrassing. I can't
tell them I'm going to be ready tomorrow or the next day. So, [going on
the injured list], is probably a good idea."
Artest in spotlight
Artest has said he does not know what the word "integrity" means.
Judging from his publicity blitz yesterday for the R&B CD he
executive-produced, he does not understand the concept of maintaining a
low profile in the wake of controversy over his part in Friday night's
brawl against the Pistons.
As his teammates prepared for last night's game against the Celtics,
Artest was a man about town and on the airwaves. He appeared on a local
radio station to promote his group Allure. He also went on the "Today"
show for what charitably could be described as a bizarre, disjointed
interview with Matt Lauer. Artest appeared almost gleeful at times,
joking at one point that he should at least have a piece of the camera
he was fined for breaking a couple years ago.
Artest talked to Radio Now, fans outside the radio station at the Emmis
Building on Monument Circle held a rally and petitioned the NBA to
lessen the suspension that will keep the forward out for the remainder
of the season. While Artest kept his radio comments largely focused on
the CD that dropped yesterday, he also talked briefly about his
"You go to these
arenas - the fans, when they're getting on your back, they can say
anything," said Artest. "But there has to be a point when you say, 'OK.'
I can't give you a number [of games the suspension should be reduced
to], who knows? But I really want to play this year. And I've already
made an effort on changing the image of the league. I've been working on
doing a number of positive things."
uncertain how many of Artest's teammates will buy the Allure CD, but
suffice it to say, they were not all that entertained when they learned
about his publicity tour.
"We're not worried about him," said Fred Jones. "We're worried about our game."
there was plenty of blame to go around for the loss last night, Rivers
accepted all of it even though the Pacers had an advantage on the glass
(45-33), in points in the paint (42-34), and in scoring on the fast
break (19-14). "I'll take the blame," said Rivers. "I think it's always
my fault. When your team is better as far as talent and you lose the
game, it's never the players' fault. It's the coach's fault. The coach
has to find a way to get the guys to understand what's in front of them,
and I failed in doing that. So, that was my fault. I've just got to
keep working with them." . . . Some of the Indianapolis Colts showed
support for Artest by wearing his jersey. Coincidentally, they head to
Detroit for a Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Lions. The Celtics'
Paul Pierce weighed in further on the matter, calling the suspensions
handed Artest, Jermaine O'Neal (25 games), and Stephen Jackson (30
games) surprising in duration . . . In one of the few positive signs for
the Pacers, injured big man Jeff Foster (arthroscopic surgery right
hip) worked out with coach Rick Carlisle after shootaround yesterday and
hopes to return Dec. 7.