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CLIPPERS FYI

Chris Kaman edges closer to return

The center, who has missed the last 42 games because of plantar fasciitis of his left foot, thinks he could be back in the lineup in about two weeks.

February 25, 2009|Lisa Dillman

So is Chris Kaman this season's Elton Brand?

"I played the first 15," Kaman said Tuesday.

Touche.

Brand, now with the 76ers and injured, didn't play until the final eight games of last season with the Clippers because of a ruptured left Achilles' tendon.

Kaman has missed the last 42 games this season with the Clippers because of plantar fasciitis of his left foot.

His projected return almost has been a moving target, pushed back so long, so often that Kaman almost became the forgotten man. Except, of course, when his name was mentioned in daily trade rumors through last week's deadline.

For the record, the trade stuff didn't bother him.

"It's a business," he said.

But he joked about being the lost man of the Clippers, saying: "I've been in hiding."

Not totally.

You can usually spot Kaman at home games, spiffed out in a suit, looking like some corporate type. Well, a very tall corporate type.

Even as affable and free-spirited as Kaman can be, the season of uncertainty weighed on him.

"At the beginning, it was really frustrating for me," said Kaman, who was averaging 13.9 points and 9.4 rebounds before the injury. "Because I was uncertain when I was going to play. Knowing now what I know, I wish I could have known back then how long it was going to be.

"I have to be patient. I can't really complain or do anything about it. Just wait and let it heal and take my time, not overdo it.

"Obviously it [stinks] but there's nothing I can do about it, got to try to get back into shape now and get ready to play. I'm looking down the road and not looking behind me."

Kaman was just getting over a four-day bout with flu, which set him back. He had traveled with his teammates to Phoenix last week before getting sick.

On Tuesday, he was doing some spot-shooting at the Clippers' training facility, a bit of running and some half-court activity. He thinks he could be back in the lineup, ready for game action, in about two weeks.

That possibly would have him returning against Cleveland on March 10 and the chance to get in the final 19 games of the season.

This would allow Coach Mike Dunleavy to unleash his three-big man experiment, trying to split time among the likes of Kaman, Marcus Camby and Zach Randolph.

Whether it's against LeBron James and Co. or later against Denver on March 14, Kaman will undoubtedly feel a few jitters stepping on the court again.

"I'm a little nervous just because I'm still having some pain down there in my foot," he said. "They're saying it's just scar tissue breaking up. I'm hoping everybody knows what they're talking about and I think they do."

--

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

--

Clippers tonight

VS. BOSTON

Time: 7:30 PST

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket. Radio: 710.

Where: Staples Center.

Records: Clippers 14-43, Celtics 46-12.

Record vs. Celtics (last season): 0-2.

Update: On Tuesday, the Celtics signed free-agent center Mikki Moore, who had been waived last week by the Kings. Now there are reports that controversial guard Stephon Marbury could be on his way to join Boston. He reached a buyout agreement with the Knicks, ending a season-long drama. Kevin Garnett (strained right knee) will be out for another week or two. For the Clippers, Al Thornton (injured right foot) remains questionable. He had not missed a game this season until sitting out the last two after getting hurt Wednesday against the Suns. The Clippers said that about 2,000 tickets remain for the game and that seats are available in all price categories.

-- Lisa Dillman

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