Even with pain throbbing in his right elbow, Lakers guard Steve Blake said he will play tomorrow against Oklahoma City at Staples Center.
“For me unless if I was to get it checked out again and they told me something major was wrong, I’ll just push through it,” Blake said. “Individually, could I be selfish and sit out because I don’t want to have a bad shooting percentage? I guess I could do that, but that’s not the type of person I am. I just want to help the team out and try to get some wins.”
The Lakers are already nursing plenty of injuries to Kobe Bryant (left knee), Pau Gasol (right groin), Steve Nash (nerve irritation in back, hamstrings), Nick Young (left knee), Jordan Farmar (left hamstring), Jodie Meeks (right ankle) and Xavier Henry (right knee).
Still, Blake looked noticeably limited in the Lakers’ 96-79 loss Tuesday to the Utah Jazz where he shot only 2-of-11 from the field. That coincided with Blake feeling additional pain in his recently hyperextended right elbow in the second half after fighting through a screen. In the past five games since returning from his elbow injury, Blake has shot only 28.6 percent and reported feeling pain when he takes outside shots.
Will this force Blake to become more of a playmaker than a shooter?
“I kind of think I have to,” Blake said. “It’s not like I can’t make the shots. But it’s a little more difficult just with lack of being able to practice 3-point shots as much as I normally do. Maybe I’ll have to pick my spots a little more here or there. But it’s a work in progress. I’m four of five games back and still have to get my legs in a little bit better condition as well and arm strength a little bit more. There’s room for improvement. I just have to get there.”
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni expressed confidence that Blake will.
“He’s got to play and has to figure out what he can do and is comfortable with,” D’Antoni said. “He’s playing great. What he gives us in tenacity, ball pressure and intangibles, we don’t have anybody who is as good as he does.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org