<
>

Spurs missing Duncan, Parker from lineup vs. Lakers

LOS ANGELES -- The defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs
were to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night without stars Tim Duncan
and Tony Parker.

Duncan, averaging 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, was to sit out his
fourth straight game because of a sprained right ankle. Parker,
averaging 20.1 points and 6.8 assists, was to miss his first game of the
season with a sprained left ankle.

Coach Gregg Popovich said Duncan might return to action Saturday
night when the Spurs play the Denver Nuggets, but Parker will
probably be out a little longer.

"Tony's been laboring for two, three games with his foot,''
Popovich said. "I just had to make the call that he sits. It's
real sore. He can't plant and spin. It's not going to heal unless
he sits.''

Team spokesman Tom James said Parker was injured about a week
ago but continued to play. James said both players might return
Saturday night.

Duncan has sat out only two games in each of the last two seasons.
Parker has played in 492 games while missing just 22 in his
six-plus seasons with the Spurs.

"It's a little disappointing," 20-year-old Lakers center
Andrew Bynum said of Duncan's absence. "I always like to play
against Duncan. It's a good test of where I'm at."

Bynum was coming off a 20-point, 11-rebound performance in the
Lakers' 123-113 victory over Golden State last Sunday night.

The Spurs entered with a 17-4 record -- second-best in the NBA.
Coming off a 96-84 loss at Golden State, they were facing the
possibility of their first two-game losing streak of the season.

The Spurs entered having won 10 of the last 13 games against the
Lakers including a 107-92 victory Nov. 13 in San Antonio.

Lakers center Kwame Brown was ruled out of his 12th straight game with
injuries to his left knee and ankle.