Lamar Odom practices, eyes opener
"I feel good, I still know how to play," Odom said. "For the record, I think I'll be the Lamar of 2010. People keep saying, 'What Lamar are you going to get?' Let's see, 2000 I was on the All-Rookie Team, I was Sixth Man of the Year, my year in Miami was pretty good. When I look at my resume, I see some really solid stuff. ... Hopefully I'll be the Lamar of 2010, not Dallas Lamar, the old Lamar."
Odom has missed the past two weeks of practice and the Clippers' last five preseason games after recovering from bone bruises in his knees and getting himself back in shape after coming into training camp overweight. He last played on Oct. 15 in Shanghai when the Clippers beat the Miami Heat 99-89 and had 4 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.
"Injuries are a part of the game," Odom said. "It happens. I just go out there and play. I don't weigh myself. That's their job."
Odom said he didn't feel he had to prove anything to anyone when he returned to the court after the season he had with the Dallas Mavericks. In 2011-12, Odom played in only 50 games for the Mavs and averaged a career-low 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists before parting ways with the team before the end of the season.
"No, no, no, I've won at the highest level," Odom said. "After that you just prove to yourself can you can do it again. I'm a professional competitor, so if it's chess, I would want to beat you. If it was a debate, I would want to beat you. I compete for a living. If it was Nintendo, Genesis or PlayStation, I want to win. If me and you were in a race right now, I would knock you down and try to beat you. That's just what I want to do. I want to win."
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said he wants to wait until he sees Odom practice Tuesday and go through shootaround Wednesday before clearing him to play in the regular-season opener.
"It was good to see Lamar out there," Del Negro said. "He said he felt good, but we'll see how he feels tomorrow and then see if we can get him to do a little bit more. He's been working hard; we'll see."
The Clippers will be without Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill for at least the opening week of the season. Hill will be out at least two weeks as he recovers from bone bruises in his right knee. He has been sidelined for the past two weeks since the team returned from China.
Meanwhile, Billups, who has been involved in full-contact practices and scrimmages, remains out indefinitely. He is hoping to return by the end of November. In February, Billups had season-ending surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon.