Thursday, January 30, 2003

Kings lose Webber for 3 weeks

By Janie McCauley
The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento Kings forward Chris Webber will miss at least three weeks with a sprained left ankle, the same injury that sidelined him for the first 20 games last season.

The injury will force him to miss the NBA All-Star game Feb. 9 in Atlanta.

An MRI test was negative Wednesday, meaning there isn't anything broken.

Webber is averaging 23 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists for the Pacific Division-leading Kings. He has been playing so well in recent weeks almost everyone around the Kings but Webber himself has been campaigning for him to win the league's Most Valuable Player. Fans frequently holler "M-V-P."

"I hope I deserve it," Webber said last week. "It's something I would definitely love."

This injury could affect his chances, though there's still more than half the season remaining. He had his third triple-double of the season in a loss Sunday in Toronto.

Webber went up for a hook shot over Utah's Scott Padgett and appeared to come down on Padgett's foot in the second quarter of a 102-92 loss to the Jazz on Tuesday night. Webber limped off the court with help from two teammates with 10:33 left in the period and did not return.

"I heard Chris yell after he went down," Padgett said. "It sounded like it hurt."

The Kings weren't the same without Webber - they played one of their worst games of the season and couldn't find any offensive rhythm.

"When Chris got hurt in the second quarter, we all got kind of flat," Peja Stojakovic said.

Webber stayed in Sacramento on Wednesday for rehab instead of traveling with the Kings to Seattle. The Kings play the SuperSonics on Thursday.

In addition, Kings forward Scot Pollard saw a specialist Wednesday after breaking his right hand.

The Kings weren't sure how he was injured. Pollard was playing for the first time after missing 42 games with a stress fracture in his lower back. He will miss five-to-six weeks.

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