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Artest awaits return to court

Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest was a full-practice participant Monday, but it hasn't been determined if he will return to the court Tuesday night.

Artest will be evaluated before Tuesday's shootaround before the Lakers decide whether he is fit to play. Artest was injured in a fall at his home on Christmas night and has missed the Lakers' past five games.

"It was too dangerous for me to rush back, so whenever they tell me" is when he'll play, Artest said Monday.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Monday he was "hopeful" Artest would be ready for Tuesday's home game against Houston.

After Monday's workout, Artest was observed to have four stitches in his head. He said he is not experiencing any dizziness, migraines or nausea that plagued him in the days after he was hurt, adding his condition has improved dramatically in the past five days since beginning limited workouts.

With Artest out of the lineup, Kobe Bryant's playing time has increased as he has absorbed some of Artest's minutes at small forward.

"He takes it as a challenge," Artest said. "Me being out is a challenge for him right now. He's not going to say, 'I can't wait for you to get back, Ron.' He's going to say, 'We don't really need you right now, Ron.' "