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Ailing back keeps Cassell out of drills

Ailing back keeps Cassell out of drills

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Sam Cassell was held out of practice Saturday because of a bad back, but Minnesota’s ailing point guard plans on playing in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

The Timberwolves, trailing 1-0 in the series to Los Angeles, host the Lakers tonight. The 34-year-old Cassell spent Saturday getting treatment on his back. Coach Flip Saunders said he would make a decision whether or not to play Cassell before today’s game.

COACH DEFENDS KIDD: After Jason Kidd went on the injured list in mid-March, New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank had serious doubts his All-Star point guard would play again this season. Frank came to Kidd’s defense on Saturday, just two days after Kidd was held scoreless in losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Detroit Pistons. “Jason played when many wouldn’t,” Frank said. “He left himself vulnerable, in terms of people questioning his play, and yet never said anything about it. I think that says a lot about his character, that he isn’t using anything as an excuse.” Frank said Kidd’s left knee was so painful in the postseason, he hurt his back trying to compensate. An MRI is planned this week.

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