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LAKERS NOTEBOOK: WITH SORE FOOT, O'NEAL UNCERTAIN FOR NEXT GAME.

Byline: Howard Beck Staff Writer

NEW YORK - Shaquille O'Neal's latest injury casts a shadow over the Lakers that is as long and wide as his size-22 right foot.

O'Neal's sore arch proved too painful to play Sunday, and he watched the Lakers' grisly 91-81 loss from the visitors' locker room at Madison Square Garden.

The Lakers hope he can play Tuesday at Cleveland. O'Neal isn't sure when he'll return.

``It's been bothering me for like a week, and I aggravated it (Friday) in the New Jersey game. It's hard for me to lift off my foot,'' said O'Neal, adding he was in ``a lot'' of pain.

Officially, the team is calling it a sore foot. O'Neal believes he has a case of plantar fasciatis - a condition that can linger for months.

``That's what it is,'' O'Neal said. ``It's hard for me to lift off my foot. I've been playing with it for the last couple weeks, but I couldn't lift off my foot the last couple days. I've been taking the medicine, and I'm just going to continue to do treatment. . . . I have all day today to rest and all day (Monday), and then on Tuesday if it feels to the point where I can lift up off my toes, then I'll play.''

The Lakers' three-game road trip concludes with back-to-back games against the Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

--More pain: Kobe Bryant said his sore right shoulder was ``bothering me a little bit'' before the game. The shoulder injury has not affected Bryant as much as his sore left elbow, but it hasn't been 100 percent since he hurt it in late December.

``You have an injury, it seems like you get hit on it every game. It's gotten slightly worse,'' Bryant said.

That didn't stop him from throwing down a windmill dunk Friday night against the Nets.

``(Trainer) Gary Vitti said, `That's not exactly what I call treatment.' But I was just so upset, I wanted to tear the rim off,'' Bryant said. ``A guy hit me a couple plays later. That's when I felt it.''

Also, Rick Fox suffered a contusion to his right shoulder in the fourth quarter Sunday, but it's not considered serious.

--Reunions: Glen Rice, on playing his former team for the first time, after several days of media hype: ``I'm glad it's over. I was real anxious. . . . Things can get back to normal around here.''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 29, 2001
Words:401
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