Steve Blake participates in shooting drills

After staying sidelined for the past seven weeks because of a lower abdominal strain, Lakers reserve guard Steve Blake made a subtle albeit significant step in his recovery.

Blake participated in shooting drills both during Thursday’s practice and on the team’s day off on Wednesday. Blake hasn’t yet been cleared for contact and he’s expected to be sidelined for an additional 2-3 weeks.

“I’m still going to ease my way into it,” Blake said. “I feel good. I’m definitely not 100 percent yet. But I’m feeling better.”

Blake said he hasn’t felt any pain since a week following surgery on Dec. 5. But the Lakers training staff has told him to take a measured approach in his rehab since any awkward movement could worsen the injury.

Would Blake increase his work pretty soon?

“I’m not sure,” Blake said. “I’ll see how I wake up in the morning. I’ll see how it feels.”

Blake, who’s averaged 5.1 points on 35.3 percent shooting, will likely take the backup point guard spot once he returns. Meanwhile, Chris Duhon missed Thursday’s practice because of back spasms. He’s stayed out of 2 1/2 practices and the Lakers’ loss Sunday to the Philadelphia because of the injury.

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