Thursday , Jan , 29 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – January 29

=== Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – January 29 ===

(Sports Network) – Shaquille O’Neal returned to the lineup for the Lakers
and he helped them to a 96-82 win over the Seattle SuperSonics at the Staples
Center.

O’Neal, who had been sidelined 12 games with a strained right calf, played
just 18 minutes and scored seven points with five rebounds. He saw about nine
minutes in each half. The Lakers struggled in O’Neal’s absence, going just
5-7.

Rick Fox, making his season debut after off-season foot surgery, scored two
points in eight minutes.

Former Sonic Gary Payton tied a season-high with 24 points in the winning
effort.

Derek Fisher had 11 points and stepped up his defense with a career-high tying
six steals, as the Lakers won their second straight on the heels of a three-
game slide. Kobe Bryant added 14 points in the win.

The Lakers were once again without Karl Malone, who is now expected to be
sidelined until mid-to-late March due to his knee injury. Malone’s knee was
originally supposed to be healed by now.

Los Angeles has a day to rest before battling Minnesota Friday night. The
Lakers begin a season-long seven game road trip Sunday in Toronto.

LAL