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Clippers' Chris Kaman still doesn't know when he'll return

CLIPPERS FYI

Center's injured ankle is improving, but he's not ready to play.

February 01, 2011|By Jim Peltz
  • Clippers center Chris Kaman has been out since early December because of an ankle injury.
Clippers center Chris Kaman has been out since early December because of… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Clippers center Chris Kaman said Tuesday his injured left ankle is gradually improving, but he still doesn't know when he'll be back in the lineup.

"[It's] getting there," he said after the team practiced at its Playa Vista training facility ahead of its game Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center. "It's not like there's a time frame. I wish there was. I don't know when I'm going to be playing again."

Kaman, 28, first injured the ankle Nov. 9 against the Hornets in New Orleans. He returned to the court in early December but reinjured the ankle Dec. 5 during a game in Portland.

Kaman was averaging 10.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in the 10 games he played, but he now has missed 37 games. He was the team's leading scorer last season, averaging 18.5 points.

Still, Kaman said he was looking forward to stepping up his rehabilitation, which he'll continue while traveling with the team on its upcoming 10-game trip.

"We just got the MRI results back yesterday, it's looking good, it's healing," he said of the ankle, which suffered a sprain and bone bruise.

"We want to push myself a little bit farther in my rehab, try to do a little bit more, but at the same time try to take my time and not overdo it. I'm just trying to progress slowly."

Asked if he's still feeling pain in the ankle, he said "it's fine walking around. It's when I have impact or when I jump or try to explode off of it or try to land or try to cut hard off of it, it's kind of bugging me then. Sometimes it's a lot of pain."

Kaman has missed chunks of seasons before to injuries, but he said the promise of the current team makes this setback especially tough.

"It's hard sitting out," he said. "No one likes to get hurt. I just want to get out there and help in any way I can. If it's limited minutes, whatever, I just want to play."

Griffin still learning

After being named the Western Conference rookie of the month for the third consecutive month, forward Blake Griffin was asked to sum up his season so far.

"The biggest thing I've learned is the importance of not only the stuff on the court but off the court — watching film, just watching games," said Griffin, who averaged 26 points and 13.4 rebounds in January.

Griffin, 21, said "it took me about 12, maybe 13 games before I really felt like I understood the main part of our offense and really found my niche a little bit. But at the same time I'm still learning. I still have a lot of learning to do."

And given the buzz around Griffin's eyebrow-raising slam dunks and overall play, is he starting to be recognized more in public? "A little bit," he said. "[It's] a little harder to go places. But I don't really go to that many places."

Griffin and guard Eric Bledsoe were named Tuesday to the rookie team for the Rookie Challenge game against sophomore players at Staples Center on Feb. 18 during the NBA's All-Star weekend.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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