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Pro Basketball | CLIPPER REPORT

Limited Odom Rejoins Practice

November 13, 2001|Elliott Teaford

Lamar Odom joined his teammates Monday for his first practice since he was suspended Nov. 5 for violating the terms of the NBA's antidrug policy. He participated in several drills, but cut short his workout because of a sore left foot.

"My foot hurts," said Odom, who is eligible to practice but not to play until Sunday against the New York Knicks at the earliest. "I started to play and mix it up, but it got sore, so I quit. I had to do something to keep my spirits up and keep a positive attitude."

Odom was injured when Golden State's Danny Fortson fell on his foot during a Nov. 3 loss to the Warriors at Staples Center.

Two days later, the league announced Odom had violated its antidrug policy for the second time in eight months and was suspended without pay for a minimum of five games. And two days after that, Odom admitted he "chose to experiment with marijuana." The Clippers placed their standout forward on the suspended list the same day, meaning he will miss at least six games.

Odom said Monday he has been in contact with league officials, but has no definite answer when he will be cleared to play. The Clippers will welcome Odom back whenever he is able to play. They were pleased enough by his return to the gym for Monday's practice.

"We have to wait to see what the NBA office says," Coach Alvin Gentry said. "It's not up to us. Whenever he's cleared to play, we'll have to see if he's physically able to play."

It's possible Odom would have been forced to sit out the last four games because of his foot injury anyway.

Gentry said Odom was "fine" during practice Monday, but Odom spent much of the workout with his left foot in a bucket of ice.

Gentry indicated that he would not reduce Odom's playing time as punishment for his suspension. Gentry also said it would be up to the players to decide if Odom would remain as a team captain.

"If he's healthy, he's going to play 30 to 35 minutes," Gentry said. "Lamar is going to play unless he's physically hurt."

Gentry said he's not concerned about finding suitable playing time for Corey Maggette, who has filled in capably for Odom during his absence.

Maggette is averaging 13.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in more than 25 minutes.

Of seeing Odom in the gym Monday, Gentry said: "It's great having him here. He was here bright and early this morning. He's got a problem that he's got to work out. We still love the guy. Our feelings for him haven't changed."

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