In hopes that he won't feel constricted with the extra clothing, Lakers guard Ramon Sessions plans to play Sunday against Oklahoma City without a protective pad along his sprained left shoulder.
"It feels better not having it on," Sessions said. "It irritates you a little bit, but it also protects you. I'm going to try it tonight before we get into the playoffs to see how it feels without it."
Sessions said his sprained shoulder doesn't feel as sore as when the Lakers defeated the Clippers, 113-108, on April 4. He's also planning to keep the padding and additional undershirt handy in case the shoulder worsens against the Thunder. Although his averages increased from March to April in points (11.8, 13.2), Sessions has experienced a drop off in the last five games in points (10.6) and shooting percentage (40.4%), and he has struggled to contain Spurs guard Tony Parker in two of the Lakers' three games against them.
"It's just a couple bad days at the office," Sessions said. "But it had nothing to do with the shoulder."
Both Sessions and Lakers Coach Mike Brown attribute the dropoff instead to defenses recognizing his pick-and-roll execution better and the team itself lacking defensive consistency. Still, Sessions hopes scrapping the padding might contribute to a jump-start when he defends Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who blew by him last month for 37 points.