Day by day, Jordan Farmar inches closer to returning to play for the Lakers sooner than expected.
If all goes well, if he returns to full-scale practice later this week with no problems, Farmar might be able to play in a game next week.
He had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee Dec. 24 and was expected to be out approximately eight weeks, putting him on pace to return after the Feb. 15 All-Star break.
But five weeks after the procedure, after a few workouts and light practice sessions, Farmar and the Lakers are hopeful he might be able to play Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, January 23, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
Charlotte Bobcats: An article on the Lakers and Jordan Farmar's expected return from injury in Thursday's Sports section said the Lakers will play the Charlotte Hornets next Tuesday. They will play the Charlotte Bobcats.
"It's feeling good," Farmar said before Wednesday night's game against the Clippers. "It's coming along the right way. But I want to make sure it's right before I come back."
Farmar took part in some shooting drills before Monday night's game and finished it off with a dunk. He said Tuesday was the first day he did "a little bit" of live practice action on his knee, doing some fastbreak drills, and reported no swelling in the knee.
He worked out some before Wednesday night's game during the shoot-around. He took a strength test Wednesday on his left leg and was still waiting on results.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said he hoped Farmar would be able to practice either Friday or Saturday before the Lakers made a decision.
"He's not there yet," Jackson said. "But we feel very good about his return."
Farmar said when the injury first occurred -- against the Miami Heat on Dec. 19 when he felt something wrong after a layup -- he made sure he wasn't active.
"I'm young," said Farmar, 22. "I work hard. I wake up every morning at 7 a.m. [to work with his therapist]. It's just hard work. I'm just doing the right thing."
Injuries pile up
for Baron Davis
There won't be a glorious homecoming for Baron Davis on Sunday at Golden State. At least not on the court.
The star-crossed Clippers point guard probably will make the trip with the team and meet with the Bay Area media, but playing appears to be out of the question.
"Unfortunately, but we go there another time," Davis said.
Davis suffered an injured hamstring when he was practicing Tuesday night. He had been making progress before the latest injury. The Clippers said it was not a strained hamstring but that he had some tightness in the area.
Before the Clippers faced the Lakers, Davis said he was pointing toward playing in next Wednesday night's game at Staples Center against the Chicago Bulls.
Overly optimistic? Perhaps.
"That's the most important thing for me, is to get back on the court," Davis said. "I'm tired of conditioning. I'm tired of watching. All my life all I did was play basketball every single day. And had it taken away from me. It just puts everything in perspective.
"I'm just approaching the rest of the season with a positive attitude. I'm not paying attention to what our record is."
Later in his session with the media in the hallway, there was a welcome interruption and friendly greeting. "Just wish my little brother gets better soon," Magic Johnson said.
Despite a dislocated right ring finger, Kobe Bryant played for the Lakers on Wednesday night.
Bryant, who suffered the injury in the first quarter of Monday night's game against Cleveland, had his ring finger taped. The finger is the one next to Bryant's right pinkie that has a torn ligament.
"We'll see how he plays," Jackson said before Bryant earned his second triple-double in three games.
Put Bryant and LeBron James, not to mention the Lakers and Cavaliers, on the same court on a national holiday, and what do you get?
A lot of viewers.
Monday's game earned a 2.3 rating and marked the highest-rated game on TNT since the Lakers and Dallas opened the 2003-04 season with a 2.4 rating.
An estimated 3.65 million viewers tuned in to see the Lakers defeat the Cavaliers, 105-88.
Times staff writer Mike Bresnahan contributed to this report.
On the air: TV: TNT; Radio: 570, 1330.
Where: Staples Center.
Records: Lakers 33-8, Wizards 9-32.
Record vs. Wizards: 1-0.
Update: The Lakers edged the Wizards, 106-104, on Dec. 5 after Caron Butler missed what would have been a game-winning three-pointer. The Wizards are not the same team that made the playoffs last season. Starting guard Gilbert Arenas has been out all season recovering from left knee surgery. Starting center Brendan Haywood hasn't played all season because of a torn ligament in his right wrist. Starting guard DeShawn Stevenson has been out because of lower back pain. Javaris Crittenton, whom the Lakers drafted in 2007, plays for the Wizards after being acquired from Memphis, the team the Lakers sent him to last February. Antawn Jamison (20.9) leads the Wizards in scoring.
-- Broderick Turner