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Lakers have limited participation in first practice session

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The NBA lockout may have ended, but the Lakers' practice facility Thursday remained as quiet as ever.

They officially opened its doors for players under contract, unsigned rookies and free agents interested in working out. But many didn't take up the team's offer. In fact, only three players actually attended, according to a team spokesperson, including Lakers forward Devin Ebanks, Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris and, of all people, Metta World Peace. For whatever reason, however, the Laker player formerly known as Ron Artest arrived in street clothes. With the Lakers withholding media access, the only details we have come courtesy of Ebanks' Twitter account where he posted a photo of his unkept locker.

"Got some good shots up today," Ebanks tweeted. "Comin bak Lata on tho! Late session."

At least some of the absences appear related to travel and schedule issues. Lakers guard Derek Fisher has worked out on his own, said his manager, Jamie Wior, and is slated to fly out to New York next week as the players union and owners plan to ratify the new labor deal. Lakers guard Steve Blake practiced at the Portland Trail Blazers facility Thursday since it's nearby his residence. Lakers forward Matt Barnes texted to The Times that he planned to work out Thursday at Loyola Marymount University. Lakers rookie guard Andrew Goudelock won't arrive in Los Angeles until Dec. 8, the day before training camp. His agent, Austin Walton, said Goudelock is still finishing up classes toward completing his sociology degree at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and has final exams on Dec. 7.

It remains unclear who will attend Friday's voluntary workouts. For now, the only thing officially scheduled involves Lakers Coach Mike Brown and General Manager Mitch Kupchak holding a press conference at 11:30 a.m.

Though team officials can now talk about players, they still have limited contact with them since the deal hasn't been officially ratified. The Times' Mike Bresnahan first reported some of these limitations. Coaches and front-office officials can't attend workouts. Athletic trainers and strength-and-conditioning coaches can help players with off-court workouts at team facilities, but aren't allowed to be present for any on-court basketball activity. And for any team official that sees a player, Bresnahan cited a league memo that instructs them to have only ""minimal interaction as is required by courtesy."

Clearly, the return to normalcy after the NBA lockout hasn't fully taken place quite yet. 

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: New York's Chauncy Billups, left, and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, right, look on while Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, president of the NBA players' union, speaks during a news conference on Nov. 14. The players must recertify as a union before they can vote on a new labor deal. Credit: Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

 
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