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Steve Blake is back and Lakers hope that's the end of the chickenpox story

Reserve guard plays for the first time in four games while the team hopes the three players who haven't had the illness — Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum — stay healthy.

April 20, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers guard Steve Blake is hoping to make an impact for the Lakers in their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the New Orleans Hornets after sitting out four games because of chickenpox.
Lakers guard Steve Blake is hoping to make an impact for the Lakers in their… (Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S.…)

Are the Lakers done with chickenpox?

A Lakers official knocked on a nearby table. Hard. It wasn't even wood, but the point was understood.

The Lakers have plenty on their minds right now, but they're hoping for the best medically for another handful of days. Steve Blake was diagnosed with the illness April 12, and the typical incubation period is two weeks.

Three Lakers have never had chickenpox — Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum — but they've all had the vaccine in the past, reducing the chances of getting it.

Blake returned to the court Wednesday against New Orleans after missing three games because of an illness mainly reserved for children. He didn't score, but had five assists and three rebounds in Game 2 against the Hornets.

He's had to douse his body with pink anti-itch medicine — "I never want to see that again" — and took prescription medication that cut his recovery time in half, he said.

He is no longer contagious, in case the surprisingly large pack of reporters in front of his locker didn't give it away Wednesday. He is still adjusting to a return to normalcy.

"I miss just being outside," he said. "I couldn't wait to just drive my car."

He wasn't even sure how much time he would log Wednesday but finished with 17 minutes, close to his season average of 20.

He still had remnants of the illness, small red marks on his face and arms, and probably picked up some new nicknames from teammates, no?

"None that I would share with you," he said, smiling.

Now we know

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson knew why the Lakers honored Lamar Odom with a brief pregame ceremony Wednesday.

"Because this could be the last game he plays in front of the home crowd," he said jokingly before Game 2.

Odom was the first Lakers player to ever win the NBA's sixth man of the year award.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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