Brand is cleared to dribble

Times Staff Writer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Injured forward Elton Brand received clearance to begin dribbling and taking stationary shots after a recent checkup at the Delaware facility where he had his ruptured Achilles’ tendon surgically repaired.

Brand, the Clippers’ franchise player who is recovering from the injury sustained in the off-season, is set to start the activities on Monday, according to Dr. Craig Morgan of Christiana Care’s Wilmington Hospital.

“We are pretty much still with the original plan,” said Morgan, who performed Brand’s surgery. “The rest of his rehabilitation is going to be getting his strength back.”


Brand has said he is optimistically targeting February as a return month.

He is also set to start running more aggressively and will use a treadmill specifically designed to lower body weight at the Clippers’ practice facility.

“He looks good,” Morgan said. “He is right on schedule.”

Morgan added that Brand has about 75% of his overall strength in his left Achilles’ tendon and will need to be at 90% before being cleared to practice.

Some of the Clippers were downcast with the news that veteran forward Ruben Patterson, well liked by his teammates, was waived. But they called it a basketball decision.

“Mike [Dunleavy] called me and discussed it,” Sam Cassell said. “Basically, Ruben wanted a little more playing time and by releasing him, he can showcase what he can do.”

Dunleavy said the team released Patterson to create roster flexibility in case another point guard was injured and because his contract was set to become guaranteed today. Dunleavy also wanted to give more playing time to rookie Al Thornton.

Guard Richie Frahm was signed to a non-guaranteed contract and played his first game as a Clipper against Memphis.

When reached by phone Friday, Patterson said he was content with the team’s decision and that his agent had already fielded several calls from other teams regarding his availability.

Forward Tim Thomas sprained his right ankle in the second quarter and did not return. He is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Lakers. . . . Quinton Ross played in the second half after sitting out a game with a bruise to his lower back. Dunleavy said he had preferred not to use him, but needed Ross defensively.