Malone fouled hard in first quarter

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers forward Karl Malone sprained his right
knee in the opening minutes of Sunday night's game against the
Phoenix Suns, causing him to leave the game for good.

With the Lakers trailing 9-2, Malone fell to the floor and grabbed his knee after being fouled by Scott Williams.

After a brief delay, Malone made one of two
free throws before leaving the game 10 seconds later and walking to
the Lakers' locker room.

A team spokesman said X-rays didn't reveal any damage, but
Malone will have an MRI exam Monday.

Malone, the NBA's second-leading career scorer behind Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar, has missed only 11 games in his career -- six due to
injuries or illness and five because of suspensions.

The 40-year-old Malone joined the Lakers as a free agent last
summer after playing 18 seasons for the Utah Jazz.