Tuesday report

Not much extra from Tuesday’s practice other than the following quote from Kobe Bryant about what Lamar Odom’s return will mean for him.

“It helps me a lot,” Bryant said, “because now I dont have to get the ball and bring it up and create for others and then get it back and then score and rebound because he does a lot of that stuff. So he makes my job a lot easier.

Chris Mihm was working out at the practice facility. If you noticed, Mihm has been sitting behind the bench at recent home games. That’s because he can finally drive to Staples Center. He still has to wear a protective boot on his ankle but can ditch it for a couple of hours each day. So he was working out Tuesday in an air cast.

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By Ross Siler
Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO–While Lamar Odom was on the practice court Tuesday soaring for alley-oop dunks and hitting spinning hook shots, Kwame Brown was in the trainers room with a sprained left ankle that wouldnt cooperate.

As a result, the Lakers took a split decision in the injury department. They still expect Odom to return from a sprained knee ligament Friday against Charlotte but will have to wait awhile longer for Brown.

Although he would like Brown back Sunday against San Antonio, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he wasnt expecting his injured center to play until the Lakers leave next week on an eight-game road odyssey.

One problem: The Lakers play four games in five nights to start the trip. Jackson speculated that Brown might return for the second set of back-to-back games against Indiana and Washington beginning Feb. 2.

“Were optimistic about Kwame, Jackson said. “We dont think hell be back on Friday, obviously, but we think that on this road trip hell be able to probably get back on the floor.

The news was better for Odom, who was surprisingly active in his first practice since suffering the knee injury on Dec. 12. While reporters were in the gym, Odom dunked, blocked a shot, hit the spinning hook and finished the alley-oop.

“Its been long enough, Odom said. “Ive tried to wait until my leg was really stable and strong. So Im confident. Im confident about making moves, about driving, about dunking the ball.

“I guess thats the biggest part in coming back from injury is that you want to go out there with your confidence, having confidence in your body. Right now, I have confidence in my body.

Kobe Bryant said Odom looked “really, really good. Jackson said he was pleased with how well Odom reacted on plays. Odom sat out his 21st game Monday since the injury; the Lakers have gone 12-9 without him.

Brown, meanwhile, took part in some full-court drills before stopping when his ankle flared up. Brown said he struggled with jumping and pushing off his left foot and thought he might scale back his workouts the next two days.

“I couldnt really jump and move like I should, so its still a little ways to go, Brown said.

Missing man: Forward Vladimir Radmanovic played just 2:49 in the second half Monday and 43 seconds in the second half Saturday. Now Radmanovic is facing an uncertain role once Odom returns and Brian Cook resumes coming off the bench.

Radmanovic missed all four shots he took Monday and finished scoreless in 13 minutes against Golden State. He was the Lakers major free-agent acquisition last summer but is averaging 4.8 points and shooting 29.5 percent in January.

“We just want to see Vlade make better choices on the floor that will give him a better opportunity to succeed, Jackson said.

After watching Radmanovic bury three 3-pointers in last weeks victory over San Antonio, Jackson said he told the 6-foot-10 forward: `Youre the difference-maker in ballgames for us.

But Jackson also said Radmanovic has been seized by an “anxiousness to score. There will be competition for minutes soon coming from Ronny Turiaf as well; Jackson has been forced to use Turiaf as a backup center with Brown out.

“A lot of times, it might not be the right time to take that shot, Jackson added. “Most of the time, the type of shots he can take, he can get any time he wants to in the clock because hes got such range on his shooting.