- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- A day after not playing in Wednesday night's exhibition game against the Utah Jazz, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups were held out of Thursday's practice as well.
Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said he simply wanted to give the three veteran players a rest but wasn't worried about them.
Billups, who had season-ending surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon in February, will not play during the preseason but is still hoping to return sometime in November or December.
Odom, who came into training camp overweight, has been dealing with conditioning issues and some pain in his knees, and Hill, who turned 40 earlier this month, said he simply wanted to pace himself during training camp and the exhibition season. Hill is also dealing with some discomfort in his knees.
"I think everybody needs the conditioning and the chemistry and working through things, but Grant is nursing some things and Lamar is nursing some things and Chauncey is picking his spots -- obviously we're a much different team when you add those three guys to the roster," Del Negro said. "Hopefully, we can get as healthy as possible as quick as possible and get some practice time in as we move forward."
Del Negro said all three could potentially return to practice Friday leading up to Saturday’s exhibition game at Utah but wasn't inclined to rush anyone back unnecessarily. Del Negro addressed Odom's conditioning, or lack thereof, before Wednesday's game.
"There's no question, I've talked to him about it," Del Negro said. "He's got to work through some conditioning things and some health things, which he's doing, but I've been pleased with his involvement and his intensity during practice and in the locker room. You see him getting a little better. I wish he was in a little bit better condition -- he wishes he was, too -- but he has to continually work every day, and I'm sure he'll get there eventually."
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