Steve Blake Set to Return Against New Orleans Hornets

By Kevin Van Pelt

After being out since November 11th with an abdominal injury, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Blake is set to return on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Hornets.

Blake returned to practice for the first time on Saturday and head coach Mike D’Antoni spoke on his point guard’s condition after practice was over.

“He’s going to play pretty soon,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t know when that is, but he’s working his way back. I think he wants to get in some running (Saturday) so we’ll see how that goes. Everyday will be a test for him. If he keeps passing those barriers, then you’ll see him on the court pretty soon.”

Turns out pretty soon will be Tuesday night against the Hornets. It has been a long two and a half months for Blake who underwent abdominal surgery in December, but was having complications a few weeks after. This required the point guard to receive cortisone shots and a platelet-rich plasma injection.

This is Blake’s third year with the Lakers and has been a backup all three years. In only six games this season, Blake has averaged 5.1 points a game and 3.4 assists. The struggling Lakers lack depth behind their big four and Blake will give the team the extra depth and provide them with another shooter that they desperately need.

The Lakers have won two games in a row and have the city of Los Angeles excited for a turnaround. Kobe Bryant has taken over as the team’s facilitator, and has had 14 assists in the last two games. Bryant and Blake already have chemistry playing the last two years together so his return shouldn’t slow down Bryant and his recent tear.

Expect Blake to only get about 10 to 15 minutes of playing time until he gets more conditioned and is fully healthy to play a more regular role coming off the bench where his minutes should be around 20 minutes a game.

After the Lakers play New Orleans on Tuesday, Los Angeles will be on a seven game road trip and Blake is expected to travel with the team.


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