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Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Sonics
Notebook: Lewis could start opener tomorrow

By Percy Allen
Seattle Times staff reporter

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After nearly three weeks of waiting for the pain in his left foot to subside, Rashard Lewis returned to the court yesterday despite the soreness caused by plantar fasciitis.

The Sonics' small forward participated in the first hour of practice and, if he doesn't experience a setback after today's workout, he'll start in tomorrow's season opener against the Clippers in Los Angeles.

During the last 30 minutes of yesterday's practice, which is open to the media, Lewis worked with a trainer and attempted a series of jump shots on a separate court away from the other Sonics.

What the media didn't see was Lewis running up and down the floor in a scrimmage. According to coach Nate McMillan, "He looked pretty good. If he can play, and it looks good right now, then he'll start. But we'll see how he feels (today)."

Lewis, who played in just two of the eight exhibition games, suffered the injury during the summer, but it intensified during an Oct. 13 game at Portland.

Since then, he has been restricted during practices and has treated the injury with ice, electronic stimulation, ultrasound and stretching to help break up the scar tissue. Lewis also had an orthopedic membrane made for his shoes.

"He's going to have to play with a little pain," McMillan said. "I don't think it's going to be something that will go way."

Evans is starting again

An infrequent visitor to Sonics practice peered at the collection of players on the court yesterday and wondered aloud: "Is Reggie Evans starting again?"

Since arriving in Seattle as a free agent two years ago, the unheralded and undersized power forward has amazed onlookers because he continues to beat the odds and stay one step ahead of the competition.
 
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A month ago, he might have been at the bottom of a quartet of forwards that included Danny Fortson, Nick Collison and Vladimir Radmanovic — all lottery picks.

But when the Sonics open the season tomorrow, the 6-foot-8 Evans will once again start.

"To bring in Danny or to draft Nick, that really didn't bother me," Evans said. "The only thing that would bother me is if somebody was to give a person something for nothing. If we come in and everybody is equal and everybody goes out there and battles for it, then I'm cool with that."

McMillan said weeks ago that the personnel questions would resolve themselves. During the exhibition season, Evans started five times, Collison twice and Fortson once.

Their scoring was nearly identical. Evans and Fortson averaged 6.8 points, Collison 5.8.

The difference, however, was in rebounding. Evans averaged 9.2, Fortson 5.5 and Collison 4.9.

Notes

• C Jerome James estimated that he lost 20 pounds during training camp and said he's down to 278. James wants to reach 265, the weight he played at during the 2001-02 season, when he started 40 games.

• The Sonics have 3,700 tickets remaining to the home opener against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday at KeyArena. A published story yesterday said as many as 8,500 tickets were available, but a team spokesperson said those figures were from last week and an internal accounting process yesterday reflected a more accurate count.

• C Vitaly Potapenko (fractured right hand) and G Ibrahim Kutluay (patella tendinitis left knee) were placed on the injured list.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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