Artest rips into injury doubters
Eric Musselman says Wednesday's pregame situation was just a misunderstanding.
By Sam Amick - Bee Staff Writer
Last Updated 10:18 am PST Sunday, March 4, 2007
PORTLAND, Ore. - Ron Artest is done being doubted, whether it's the fans, media or even his coach.
And a day after his agent, Mark Stevens, responded publicly to a perceived questioning of his client's knee injury from Kings coach Eric Musselman, Artest had a blunt message for anyone who thinks he's faking it.
"They can all ... , really," Artest said, using a vulgar phrase. "That's how I really feel about it."
The situation, according to Kings coach Eric Musselman, was no more than a misunderstanding. When asked 45 minutes before Wednesday's home game against Charlotte about Artest's whereabouts, he said he didn't know where his small forward was.
But Musselman had altered his routine of spending most of his pre-game time in the locker room, talking for approximately 30 minutes on the Arco Arena floor with Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff and Jim Brovelli, Musselman's former college coach at the University of San Diego.
What's more, Musselman said, with players scattered about from the floor to the training room to chapel, he doesn't address them as a unit until 35 minutes before tipoff.
As for his comment of "His knees, I guess," when asked about Artest's injury, Musselman said he was more concerned with which players were available to him than the reasons why one wasn't and that medical issues are the territory of the training staff.
"He didn't have to answer," Artest said. "I guess he should've just asked the trainer what's wrong, because it makes it look like I'm just not playing. I was kind of upset about it, but it doesn't matter. All I worry about is getting healthy."
Musselman and Artest met before the game and resolved the issue, the coach said.
An hour before Saturday night's game at Portland, Artest said he was considering not playing against the Blazers because of his knees, but he started. The soreness, Artest said, is in both knees.
"They just feel awkward," he said.
One-on-one - Among the many odd sights after the Kings' win over the Lakers on Friday night was Artest joining the media contingent.
He grabbed a reporter's tape recorder and made his way toward Kevin Martin, who already was speaking to a small group.
"Kevin, why do you take so many shots?" Artest said with a laugh.
Martin fired back: "Because I learned from you."
Moments before, Artest had been praising Martin in an interview outside the locker room.
"(Martin's) a star in the making," he said. "He's perfect for the league. He's averaging 20 (points), and he's doing that on a team with me, Mike (Bibby) and Brad (Miller), so imagine if he had his own team. He'd be averaging 27 or 28 points."