K-Mart could return as soon as Saturday

DENVER -- Kenyon Martin, the Denver Nuggets' top defensive player and a force on the boards, hopes to return as soon as Saturday from the left knee injury that has sidelined him for the last five weeks.

Speaking before Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Martin said he feels good to go and that he would like to play in at least one of the Nuggets' last three regular season games before the playoffs. The Nuggets next play the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday followed.

"I just don't want to go out there rusty, right into a game situation," Martin said. "The last three games are a possibility. It will depend on how I feel. If I'm in any pain or what not, then no. But as of right now, I don't have any pain. But I've got to do one of these last three if I'm going to play [before the playoffs]."

Martin hasn't played since March 3. He was averaging nearly a double double (11.8 points, 9.6 rebounds) when persistent soreness and swelling in the knee forced him to the sideline. He underwent platelet rich plasma therapy March 8 and returned to the court for the first time since then on Wednesday in a 1-on-1 basektball session in Oklahoma City against assistant coach Jamahl Mosley prior to the team's game against the Thunder.

"I went pretty hard and I felt good," Martin said.

He followed that with a workout Thursday at the team's practice facility that included a round of shooting.

"I've definitely made a lot of progress, a lot of progress," he said. "I'm shooting the ball well upstairs but I want to play one of these last few games."