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Thomas’ injury is not serious

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Times Staff Writer

There was a bit of bright news Wednesday for the Clippers, a team that couldn’t afford any more serious injuries about two serious injuries ago.

An MRI examination on forward Tim Thomas’ left knee performed by team physician Dr. Tony Daly revealed no structural damage.

Thomas injured his knee in the first quarter Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs. He is listed as day to day but will probably miss the team’s home-and-home series against the Pacific Division-leading Phoenix Suns tonight and Friday night.

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When Thomas originally went down, the team thought the prognosis could be worse, especially in light of the way other injuries have hindered the Clippers this season.

“That was great news,” Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Based on the way he came out of the game the other night, we thought there was a chance it could be structural.

“It’s really a matter of pain tolerance to see where it is.”

Thomas’ injury came the same day the Clippers learned reserve forward Paul Davis would miss the remainder of the season because of a torn ligament in his right knee.

Thomas is averaging 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds.

In his place, rookie Al Thornton will probably receive extended minutes at the power forward spot.

“That’s kind of the way we’ve been going with it. He’s been doing pretty good with it,” Dunleavy said of Thornton. “It just depends on who the matchup is. We have to look at that first.”

Meanwhile, the Clippers, who have lost their last four games, returned to practice for the first time in four days.

“It’s going to help out a lot,” said center Chris Kaman, who flew home to Michigan and visited his family for Christmas during the break.

“For how banged up our team is, it felt good for guys to have time off and try and get healthy.”

The Clippers’ leading scorer, Corey Maggette, is slated to return against the Suns tonight after sitting out a game because of a sore right knee, and guard Sam Cassell is expected to receive his first extended minutes since straining his calf against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 26.

Forward Aaron Williams (left wrist) is doubtful tonight.

“Because of our injury situation, it has to help certain guys to get some type of recovery,” Dunleavy said of the time off.

TONIGHT

vs. Phoenix, 7:30, FSN Prime Ticket

Site -- Staples Center

Radio -- 710.

Records -- Clippers 9-17, Suns 19-9.

Record vs. Suns -- 0-1.

Update -- The Suns remained in Los Angeles after losing to the Lakers, 122-115, on Christmas Day. The Clippers lost, 113-94, in the teams’ first meeting this season on Nov. 23.

jonathan.abrams@latimes.com


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