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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers center Chris Kaman doesn't want to be a hindrance

He is concerned about infringing on the court chemistry between Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin when he returns from an injury.

November 30, 2010|By Kevin Baxter

Among the most interested spectators at the Clippers' matinee loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday was a man in a dark pin-striped suit and red tie sitting a row behind the home team's bench.

If he hadn't twisted an ankle three weeks ago, center Chris Kaman would have been in the game rather than in the stands. And although the team is 2-8 in his absence, Kaman says it's clear guard Eric Gordon and rookie forward Blake Griffin have forged a unique relationship.

And it's a chemistry the All-Star doesn't want to interrupt by coming back too early.

"I just want to get back and be healthy," said Kaman, whose return isn't expected before the weekend. "With that being said, coming back do I mess up what they have going on? Blake's been playing a lot better and kind of getting into a groove. Eric's been playing real well.

"And I don't want to come back and mess that up."

Since Kaman went out, Gordon's scoring average has jumped nearly five points per game, to 25.6, and Griffin is averaging 22.6 points and 12.5 rebounds heading into Wednesday's game with San Antonio at Staples Center.

Gordon shakes his head when asked whether Kaman's return would detract from that.

"I already know it's going to be better when he comes back," said Gordon, who is in his third season with the Clippers. "We need another big [man] who can pop-and-shoot it. There will be more opportunities for me and him because he can step out and shoot."

And as if to prove his chemistry with Gordon carries beyond the court, Griffin is on the same page with his teammate regarding Kaman's return.

"That will be great for us," said Griffin, who has scored and rebounded in double figures in five consecutive games. "Eric and I, what we developed is good for the team. Eric and Chris already have that chemistry, playing together two years now. And I think Chris and I have that chemistry.

"So it just adds more pieces."

Numbers game

Kaman is one of three Clippers sidelined by injury. So with center Jarron Collins sitting out Monday's 2½-hour practice to be with his wife, who is expecting the couple's second child, Coach Vinny Del Negro didn't have enough healthy players to run a scrimmage.

The Clippers have been without guard Baron Davis for all but 10 minutes since Halloween and guard Randy Foye has sat out 11 games because of a strained hamstring. Del Negro said Davis most likely will be the first player to return, but he wouldn't make a guess as to when that might happen.

"Hopefully, we can heal up a little bit and have a good practice [Tuesday] and see who's available for Wednesday," Del Negro said.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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