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Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Steve Blake's elbow progressing

By Dave McMenamin

PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Lakers got a bit of incremental good news on the injury front Wednesday. And any time a team has only nine healthy bodies in the lineup, it will take whatever good news it can get, no matter how minuscule.

Steve Blake, sidelined since Dec. 10 because of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, has been cleared to resume limited basketball activity with his right arm.

Blake, who underwent an ultrasound exam Monday in Los Angeles that showed improvement in the tear, took to the court before the Lakers played the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday and was able to participate in 1-on-1 drills that included dribbling and finishing shots with his right hand around the rim.

Blake said he could practice form shooting with his right hand close to the basket but has yet to resume shooting jump shots outside of the lane.

"There is still pain," Blake said, before clarifying that the discomfort is stemming from having to keep his right arm in a rigid, 90-degree position for more than a month now. The tear is healing, but the muscles around the elbow have atrophied.

The 11-year veteran wore a heavy protective brace on his right arm virtually non stop since suffering the injury but has graduated to a softer, more mobile brace as he continues to ramp up his on-court workouts.

Blake said he would be re-evaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles on Jan. 27 following its seven-game Grammy trip but was hesitant to circle any potential return date.

"I don't want to jinx it," Blake said, knowing full well that he is one of five players along with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar and Xavier Henry, that is currently injured after playing point guard for the Lakers this season.