Artest has absense excused for personal matter

Updated: March 18, 2004, 6:43 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest missed practice Thursday to deal with a personal matter.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said the absence was excused, and Artest would be in the starting lineup for Friday's home game against Sacramento Kings.

Artest arrived at Conseco Fieldhouse minutes after practice ended and said he had a doctor's appointment for his injured thumb, among other issues.

Artest has been playing with a heavy wrap on his left, non-shooting thumb after having surgery to repair torn ligaments Feb. 19.

"Everything happened today," Artest said, without elaborating further.

Artest was benched for the start of a game against New Orleans in February for missing practice while returning from All-Star weekend in Los Angeles.

He also did not start against Memphis in December after he overslept and missed a practice the previous day.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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