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Basketball briefs

BLAYLOCK BREAKS A FINGER: Point guard Mookie Blaylock suffered a broken left ring finger during a practice session at the Atlanta Hawks preseason camp, team spokesman Arthur Triche said.

A specialist was to examine the injury Monday, Triche said.Blaylock, entering his ninth NBA season, averaged 17.4 points, 5.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds for the Hawks last season.

Trainer Chris Tucker said X-rays Sunday showed a small fracture of the ring finger of Blaylock's non-shooting hand.

"If it's intra-articulate (in the joint) it could be six weeks before he can play," Tucker said. "But if it's a chip or a routine fracture he could play right away."

GILLIAM STILL A NO-SHOW: Forward Armon Gilliam has been a no-show so far at Milwaukee Bucks preseason training camp, team officials said.

General manager Bob Weinhauer said he had not spoken with Gilliam as of Sunday night, although Gilliam had left two messages for Weinhauer earlier Sunday.

"He did not call back," Weinhauer said. "I will have nothing more to say until I talk to him."

Gilliam averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in an average of 25.6 minutes per game last season.

SHAQ SITS OUT: Shaquille O'Neal sat out the Los Angeles Lakers' practice for the second consecutive day Sunday because of a strained abdominal muscle but was optimistic he will be able to go again soon.

"I'll be back in a couple of days, hopefully," O'Neal said.

He strained the muscle Friday, the team's first day of preseason drills at College of the Desert. He spent Sunday morning's workout riding an exercise bike and shooting free throws at a side basket while his teammates practiced.

O'Neal said he wasn't worried about missing drills because he already is familiar with the Lakers' system.

"It doesn't concern me because most of the things we do are pretty much the same," he said. "I've been playing this game a long time, and I'm the type of player that if (coach) Del (Harris) tells me something, he doesn't even have to finish the sentence and I know what he's talking about because I know the game.

"We've added a couple of wrinkles, but I can read the playbook, sit here and watch the guys go through it and I'll already know it."

SHOW STACK THE MONEY: Jerry Stackhouse has much to play for in the 1997-98 NBA season.

The Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard wants to help the team back to respectability after it averaged 59 losses over the past five seasons.

The Sixers are 40-124 in Stack-house's two professional seasons.

Then there's Stackhouse's contract situation. The Sixers opted not to make a serious effort to sign him prior to the Oct. 1 early deadline. They cannot begin negotiations until the end of the season. On July 1, Stackhouse can become a free agent.

"I've got to prove something to everybody," he said.

Stackhouse is intrigued by the huge contracts that went to fellow third-year pros Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett in the past week.

Wallace, the fourth selection in the 1995 NBA Draft, worked out a six-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers for a reported $80 million. Garnett, the fifth pick, received a record $125 million over six years from the Minnesota Timberwolves.