PHILADELPHIA -- Ron Artest was cleared by his coach to play for the Indiana Pacers on Friday night after being benched for two games for asking for
time off because of his busy schedule.
"Ron's going to be back in the lineup tonight," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said after Friday's shootaround. "We've gone through a lot the last few
days, but it's time to play basketball. It's time for our team to try and get as many healthy bodies as we can out there. We're moving forward."
Artest stood by Carlisle's side and did not answer any questions.
"Brotherly love, brotherly love," a smiling Carlisle said as he left the arena with Artest.
Artest said Wednesday that he asked Carlisle for as much as a month off to heal his aching body and recover from a particularly busy schedule, which
included producing an R&B album.
"My body has been aching, I was going to take some time off and I said it the wrong way," Artest said. "Everything that happened wasn't too negative.
I kind of surprised the team by wanting to take some games off, just to get back together, maybe stay home for a little bit, rest a little bit and
Carlisle benched Artest for Tuesday's win over Minnesota and Wednesday loss against the Clippers, saying the situation, "compromised the integrity of
On Friday, Jermaine O'Neal said the Pacers couldn't let the situation be a distraction.
"Things always come up. It's just unfortunate it's coming up right now," O'Neal said. "Me and my teammates have bigger things on our mind."
When asked what he thought about Artest, O'Neal said, "He's my teammate. Let's leave it at that."