Artest has absense excused for personal matter

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

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.