Thursday , Nov , 11 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Artest gets another rap

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest sat out
the second of a two-game benching on Wednesday in a 102-68 loss to the Los
Angeles Clippers, a penalty that apparently stemmed from the player’s request
for time off to deal with exhaustion and off-court issues, including the
promotion of a rap album that is slated to be released later this month.

Artest, who has been bothered by nagging injuries since training camp, was not
suspended and did not lose any of his salary.

“I was running around a lot and doing a whole bunch of stuff and I’ve also
been working out, so I think I wore myself down physically, I wore myself down
mentally,” Artest said Wednesday. “I was ready to take some time off, at least
like a month off, but two games is enough.”

Artest was benched for what Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle termed
“compromising the integrity of the team.”

“We’ll see,” added Carlisle on the playing status of Artest for Friday’s game
at Philadelphia. “It’s not something I’m going to talk about right now.”

Without Artest and an injury to Jermaine O’Neal in the third quarter on
Wednesday, the Pacers suffered the worst home loss in franchise history and
their first loss after opening the season with four straight wins.

Artest, who has dealt with NBA suspensions in the past for his volatile
behavior, leads the team with an average of 24.3 points in the three games he
has played.