Karl Malone's first serious injury--a partially torn right
MCL--is playing havoc with his summer plans. After missing 40
games for the Lakers this season, he would probably have to play
through 2005-06 to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's career record of
38,367 points (Malone had 36,787 at week's end) but says he'll
extend his career only if he's contending for a title with L.A.
"I'm not going to play anyplace else just to break the record,"
says Malone, 40. "In Utah [the scoring record] was all I had to
play for, but it's different here."
Malone may be forced to withdraw from the Olympic team this
summer to make sure he has fully recovered from his injury.
Though he won't decide until the season is over, he is not happy
about the U.S. team's schedule, which begins with a four-day camp
in Jacksonville starting on July 26, followed by exhibitions in
four countries before the Games in Athens from Aug. 15 to Aug.
28. Upon hearing the itinerary, Malone deadpanned, "My knee is
sore," then added, "It's a hell of a lot of travel, in a short
period of time and a high level of basketball. We [should] just
show up and practice, then go over there and play. Very simple.
They made it very complicated."
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (MALONE) The Mailman doesn't like the U.S.'s schedule, so he might notdeliver at the Olympics.