Lakers rookie power forward Julius Randle was cleared Monday to participate in non-contact basketball activities.
The 20-year-old Kentucky product suffered a season-ending injury, a broken right leg, on opening night, Oct. 28. He had surgery to repair the leg, then in January he underwent surgery on his right foot to replace a screw originally inserted after a high school injury.
"I don't even think about. I don't feel it," Randle said. "No pain, no soreness, no nothing."
Randle will continue to use the team's Alter-G treadmill to improve his conditioning.
"I feel fine. I've been eating the right stuff, keeping my weight down while I've been out," he said.
Coach Byron Scott said he hasn't spent much time talking to Randle during his rehab.
"I just told him to watch the games. He loves basketball, so he watches anyway," said Scott. "The only thing I told him lately is that he's going to start traveling with us, so we can work him out when we're on the road, and I want him with the team."
The Lakers play at Golden State next Monday, then go on the road for five games in seven nights starting March 24. "I love to travel. I'm excited about it," Randle said.
Randle said he spent much of his down time watching NBA games, hoping to learn from observing others.
Randle also watched Kentucky march through a perfect regular season. "Thirty-one and 0, what more can you say?" he said. "[Coach John Calipari] and those [players] are doing a great job, a tremendous job."
Scott said the hope is for Randle to start playing in a few months. "This is all in preparation for getting him ready for summer league," Scott said. "Each week, we'll try to amp it up a little bit. By June, he should be running up and down the court."
The Lakers expect to have Randle, rookie guard Jordan Clarkson and forward/center Tarik Black with the team's summer-league entry in Las Vegas.
On Monday, Randle was working on shooting drills with player development coach J.J. Outlaw. "The ultimate goal is to have yourself ready so you can win a championship. I don't want to lose, I want to contend," Randle said.
Over the summer, he expects to work out with Kobe Bryant, who is rehabbing from surgery for a torn rotator cuff. "I look forward to it. There's a lot of stuff he can teach me as far as footwork," Randle said.
Carlisle on Clarkson
Clarkson, the 46th overall pick last June, has made an impression on Dallas Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle.
"I just saw him get his career high two nights ago against Memphis Carlisle said Sunday before the Mavericks played the Lakers at Staples Center. "He's playing great. Byron Scott has done a great job of bringing him along."
Clarkson finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists in a 100-93 loss to the Mavericks.
"Early in the year, like a lot of rookies, he was inconsistent and unsure, wasn't sure what his game was," Carlisle said. "Now you look at him, when you go for 25 against Mike Conley in Memphis, and you've got a pretty substantial lead in the fourth quarter, you're getting it done. He's doing a great job."
Carlisle said Scott has "great feel" for developing guards.
"One of the remarkable things about this progression with Clarkson was that he really appeared to be more of a two guard than a point guard," Carlisle said. "He's really getting a feel for playing the point, and that's great coaching."
LAKERS VS. DETROIT
When: 7:30 p.m. PST.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Records: Lakers 16-46; Pistons 23-39.
Record vs. Pistons: 1-0.
Update: It seems long ago but the Lakers won at Detroit, 106-96, on Dec. 2 as Kobe Bryant had 12 points and 13 assists. The Pistons' current six-game losing streak appears to have sealed their fate as a lottery team for the sixth consecutive season.
— Barry Stavro