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Mike D'Antoni confident Steve Blake will make smooth return

December 31, 2012|By Eric Pincus
  • Lakers point guard Steve Blake protects the ball as he drives past Blazers point guard Damian Lillard in a preseason game.
Lakers point guard Steve Blake protects the ball as he drives past Blazers… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

After almost every practice, Lakers guard Steve Blake works on his jumper, trying to keep his touch while waiting to rejoin the team in full.

Blake has been sidelined with an abdominal strain since Nov. 11, when he couldn't push through a Lakers win over the Sacramento Kings.  After rest didn't fix the problem, he had surgery Dec. 5, which was expected to keep him out an additional six to eight weeks.

Coach Mike D'Antoni noted the veteran point guard is still "a couple of weeks away." In the meantime, Chris Duhon is getting the primary backup minutes at the one.  Darius Morris has stepped into the starting lineup at shooting guard with Kobe Bryant sliding to small forward.

Duhon missed practice on Sunday with back spasms.

D'Antoni isn't concerned about the time Blake has missed, even though all he can do is cheer for his teammates during practice.

" 'Way to go guys', that's where he is right now," said D'Antoni. "He knows how to play. I'm not worried about him stepping back in and playing. He's going to have to go through a process getting himself back into shape and ready, but that's still a few weeks off."

Conditioning will take a moment for Blake but as far as learning the offense?

"He knows. He knows," D'Antoni said. "It'll take two seconds."

In Blake's seven appearances this season (five starts), he's averaged 5.1 points and 3.4 assists while shooting just 35.3% from the field but 40% from three-point range.

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Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni investing in guard Darius Morris

Lakers getting big assist numbers from Steve Nash, Pau Gasol

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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