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Malone visits Lakers' camp

Social call has no bearing on his playing future

SAN DIEGO — Karl Malone showed up at the Los Angeles Lakers training camp Saturday to visit old teammates and club officials.

Malone's visit was purely social and had no bearing on whether he might play this season, team officials said.

"It's not a bad sign, but really it's not a sign either way," said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, adding the club would welcome Malone's presence on the court.

The 41-year-old Malone, the second-leading scorer in NBA history, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in late June. He opted out of his $1.65 million contract with the Lakers at season's end, making him a free agent.

Malone has said he's not ready to play but hasn't ruled out returning this season.

"He's leaving his options open," Malone's agent, Dwight Manley, said last week.

Malone arrived as practice was winding down, and chatted with his former teammates and shook hands. He declined to comment on his future plans.

"Talk to the guys who are doing something," Malone said. "I'm not doing anything."

Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich said he wouldn't try to persuade Malone to return.

"That would be something that would be grinding and grinding all the time. So for the mental health of the team right now, we're going as if it isn't going to happen," Tomjanovich said.

Kupchak said Malone appeared in good physical condition.

"He looks great," Kupchak said. "I've never seen him when he doesn't look great."

Forward Brian Grant, who missed practice for two days with a sore neck, returned in a closed team scrimmage Friday night.