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Artest, Bryant making improvements

December 27, 2009 |  2:46 pm

Ron Lakers forward Ron Artest, who suffered a concussion that forced him to miss Saturday night's game against the Sacramento Kings, saw a neurologist for the second consecutive day Sunday in Los Angeles and has shown signs of improvement, the Lakers said after practice Sunday.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who has yet to speak with Artest, said he was hopeful that his 30-year-old small forward would be able to play Monday night when the Lakers face the Suns in Phoenix.

Artest will be re-evaluated again Monday before a decision is made.

He was hurt after Friday night's game when Artest fell down a flight of stairs at his home while carrying boxes at his home.

Artest injured his elbow and had to get stithces to the back of his head. He was treated at the UCLA Medical Center emergency room Friday night.

As for Kobe Bryant, he said his strained right elbow "is fine" and that he will play agaisnt the Suns.

Bryant was injured right at the end of the third quarter during Saturday night's game against the Kings.

"It's still a little sore," Bryant said. "But it's good enough."

Bryant participated in a little of practice Sunday.

Bryant called his injury a stinger that will go away.

He also has a fractured right index finger that he has to deal with.

Still, Bryant was looking forward to playing against the Suns.

The Lakers have beat the Suns twice this year and by easy margins.

But the Lakers are coming off a double-overtime victory Saturday night in which many of their players played heavy minutes.

Bryant played 51 minutes, Pau Gasol 51, Lamar Odom 50 and Derek Fisher 40.

"This is going to be big challenge for  us,": Bryant, said. "I'm interested to see how we respond to it."

-- Broderick Turner

Photo: Ron Artest tries to get past Minnesota's Ramon Sessions during a game on Dec. 11. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press