Back spasms sidelined Chris Kaman for a stretch in late November but when he improved, Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni left the veteran center out of the rotation.
On Friday night, Kaman played his first significant minutes in a month, contributing to a 104-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"It's tough, because [I] haven't played in a while, a little rusty Everything went pretty fast for me," Kaman said after the game. "I had a hard time coming back, trying to slow things down."
The veteran center finished with six points and three rebounds in 16½ minutes, helping the Lakers counter Wolves big men Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.
Kaman even made the defensive play of the game, stopping a three-on-one break by blocking Corey Brewer's dunk attempt at the basket. Kaman was able to tap the ball to a teammate, which led to a Wesley Johnson slam in transition.
"I didn't want to give up the layup," said Kaman. "So I went after it."
It's unclear if Kaman will be a regular part of D'Antoni's rotation, but Friday was a positive step forward.
"I think Rob [Sacre] has done a good job so far this year," said Kaman. "Obviously Pau [Gasol] as of late has been playing really well. Shawne [Williams] does a good job stretching the floor, rebounding and guarding the mismatches and tough matchups.
"Jordan Hill has been playing really well," he said. "It's tough to find minutes for everybody."
Kaman signed with the Lakers as a free agent in July. He expected a bigger role.
Through 14 appearances, Kaman is averaging 8.1 points a game on 50% shooting from the field.