Steve Blake’s return remains uncertain

In the curious case of Steve Blake, his long-term abdominal injury just took another twist that makes his return uncertain.

Lakers doctor Dr. Steve Lombardo said Blake has “symptomatically improved” from a lower abdominal strain that required surgery six weeks ago. But Lombardo described Blake as in a “holding pattern” after having what he called “slight discomfort” in the groin area shortly before the surgery.

Lombardo, who’s been the team doctor for 39 years, said the training staff, physicians and Blake initially didn’t consider the pain in his groin area to be serious. But it worsened enough that Blake received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection from Dr. Peter Yoon on Friday to treat his groin. He also plans to see Dr. Bill Brown, a hernia specialist in San Jose, fairly soon. Blake has participated in shooting drills, but has stayed away from any contact drills.

“Hopefully it kicks in next week and he’s out and he tests it,” Lombardo said. “It’s not an objective way to measure it. If he has a little discomfort and he thinks he can play effectively, we’re going to let him play. He’s on board with that.”

The PRP injection involves blood being taken from the patient and isolating the components. Blake also took an injection to treat his abdominal muscle after his Dec. 5 surgery performed by Dr. Craig Smith. Lombardo said Blake’s injury usually happens to soccer or hockey players after making awkward movements.

Former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal also had a lower abdominal strain in the 1999 lockout shortened season, but he returned in six weeks. Blake has played in seven games, averaging 5.1 points on 35.3 percent shooting and 3.4 assists in 26 minutes as the team’s backup point guard.

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