Kobe sits out season opener
Published: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
LOS ANGELES - Kobe Bryant sat out the Los Angeles Lakers' season opener against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night because of soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.
"This morning it was a little sore," said Bryant, the NBA scoring champion last season with a 35.4-point average - the league's highest in 19 years. "The thing about the knee is you want to string together a few days where it feels good."
The 28-year-old Bryant raved after practice Monday that his knee felt very good, and he thought he would play in the opener. But the positive feelings didn't last. He made no attempt to hide his disappointment some 90 minutes before the Lakers faced the Phoenix Suns.
Bryant underwent arthroscopic surgery in mid-July, and missed the Lakers' eight exhibition games. He said he wouldn't travel for tonight's game at Golden State, either, but hoped to return either Friday night against Seattle at home or Sunday night at Seattle.
Red Auerbach was buried in a simple graveside ceremony, with Hall of Famers Bill Russell and John Thompson and commissioner David Stern among those paying last respects.
About 150 family, friends and special guests attended the private burial for the NBA great at the King David Memorial Gardens in suburban Washington.
Stern said the service was appropriate for a man who was direct and often blunt, without much regard for fluff or ceremony.
Hours before the regular season began, Chicago already had something to celebrate.
Guard Kirk Hinrich and the Bulls agreed on a five-year extension, the maximum length allowed under league rules. The deal, which kicks in at the start of next season, is believed to be worth about $47.5 million.
Point guard T.J. Ford and Toronto agreed on a contract extension.
Ford signed a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year. The extension could pay the guard as much as $33 million.
Guard Tony Parker didn't practice and remains questionable to play in San Antonio's season opener after spraining his right ankle.
Parker was doing drills Monday when he took a shot and landed on another players' foot. He averaged 18.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game last season.
Adam Morrison will start his NBA career on the bench.
Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said that veteran Brevin Knight will start at shooting guard ahead of Morrison, the No. 3 pick in the draft, in today's season opener against Indiana.
New swingman Devean George was hospitalized with a stomach ailment that could knock him out of the opener.
"We think it's a food deal, but he's had this problem before," coach Avery Johnson said. "Now it's kind of come back again, and this time it's even worse than the first time. So we'll have to evaluate it."
Luke Ridnour chose the stability of a three-year contract extension with the Seattle Supersonics worth a guaranteed $19.5 million over the chance to determine his value on the open market.
The NBA begins its season with a record 83 international players from 37 countries and territories outside the United States, more than double the number 10 years ago.
Twenty-eight of the 30 teams have at least one foreign player, led by the Phoenix Suns with seven. Serbia has the most players on this year's rosters (8), followed by France (7) and Slovenia (6).
The season opens Tuesday night with Thabo Sefolsha, the first player from Switzerland, on the roster for the Chicago Bulls.
Comments are currently unavailable on this article