Lampe expects to debut Monday
18-year-old says he'll be activated
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 15, 2004 12:00 AM
SUNS AT TRAIL BLAZERS
WHERE: Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.
WHEN: 8 p.m.
TV/RADIO: UPN 45/KTAR-AM (620).
SUNS UPDATE: Phoenix (12-26) has lost six straight. F Shawn Marion leads the team in scoring, averaging 18.3 points. His 23 vs. Denver were the most he has scored in the past eight games. Suns were 4-14 in the 18 games Amare Stoudemire missed because of a sprained ankle.
BLAZERS UPDATE: Portland (16-20) is coming off a 103-96 overtime loss to the LA Clippers. Former Arizona star Damon Stoudamire led the Blazers with 24 points. Jeff McInnis is averaging 15 points in the past 13 games.
The Suns' youth movement already is causing nasty growing pains, so guess what? The Suns are about to get younger . . . much younger.
Maciej Lampe is eligible to come off the injured list after Sunday's game vs. Portland. The Suns play Monday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
The agile, 6-foot-11, 240-pound forward obtained in the eight-player trade with the Knicks is the NBA's second-youngest player. He will turn 19 on Feb. 5 and is four months older than Detroit rookie Darko Milicic.
"I talked to the coach and everybody, and we decided that it (time on the injured list) will be for only these five games," said Lampe, who the Suns said had back spasms. "After these five games, I'm going to get activated against the Lakers. That will probably be my first game."
Lampe's statement surprised Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, perhaps because to activate Lampe, the team likely will have to tell a veteran player (Tom Gugliotta?) that he's headed to the injured list, but D'Antoni didn't deny it.
"We said we'll try to, but it is our game plan," D'Antoni said. "We'd like to play him, but it depends on a lot of things, so we'll see. He's probably not ready, but we want to get him ready."
Assuming Lampe takes Gugliotta's roster spot, the Suns' average age would be 23.9, with 2.9 years of NBA experience.
"We'd like to give him (Lampe) the opportunity," D'Antoni said. "If we're up by 20 or down 20, it would be nice for him to get those minutes, instead of somebody who doesn't need them. You have to give him a little sugar, a cookie."
Lampe has shown talent in practice but has yet to play in a game. He spent his time with the Knicks on the injured list.