Lakers guard Steve Blake cleared to practice

Breaking news …

Steve Blake stuck to the company line, but a wide smile gave him away. He was cleared to resume practicing with the Lakers today and, officially at least, his status for Thursday’s game against the Boston Celtics will be determined at tipoff.

Asked if he was going to play, he said, “It’s a game-time decision.”

Blake’s grin said something else, like, “The answer is, yes. Of course, I’m playing.”

Sidelined since Jan. 11 by a rib/sternum injury, Blake’s absence as the Lakers’ only veteran backup to point guard Derek Fisher was dramatic. A pair of rookies, Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris, has served as Fisher’s backup for the last three weeks.

Blake is averaging 7.3 points and 2.8 assists in 12 games.

Lakers coach Mike Brown said Blake “isn’t Chris Paul, but for us he’s a valuable piece.”

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