Per Dave McMenamin, Steve Blake was medically cleared to participate in Wednesday's practice and will be a game-time decision for Thursday's game against the Celtics. A return to action basically coincides with the timetable for recovery from a fracture near his ribs.
"I've just been patient with it, trying to let it heal," Blake said during Wednesday's practice. "I really had no preconception of when I was coming back. I didn't know if it was going to be sooner or later. I really had no idea. To me, it's on time...[Practice] felt good. My rhythm is a little off, but that will come with time. Hopefully whenever I do play, I'll be ready to play and able to contribute."
Obviously, Blake's potential availability is a big deal. Not that the bench ran like a Swiss watch with him in the lineup, but he was nonetheless the best second unit play-maker, and by a long shot. That the reserves have struggled to do much in Blake's absence beyond feed the ball to Andrew Bynum or watch Andrew Goudelock generate his own looks is no coincidence, nor terribly surprising. With Blake back, the second unit offense will hopefully run a little smoother, and he'll hopefully add a few buckets to the mix.
In the meantime, I assume Goudelock will assume two-guard duties, allowing him to operate more of a pure scorer, rather than outside his comfort zone as a quasi-point guard. I also imagine Mike Brown will give more minutes to Goudelock than Jason Kapono as a reserve shooting guard, which will hopefully help limit Kobe Bryant minutes. For that matter, Blake on hand should also mean equal Derek Fisher's minutes reduced, which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Blake and Fisher can also finish games together with Kobe at small forward in games where Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes aren't offering much, which has been too often these days.
Considering the glaring limitations of the Lakers roster, any options gained are a welcome development.