Odom says he’s ready

Times Staff Writer

And finally, some good injury news for the Lakers.

Lamar Odom will begin practicing today despite a torn labrum in his left shoulder and said he would play Thursday against Denver, calling it a “blessing of God.”

Odom was expected to take another week or two to decide his future -- play through the pain, undergo season-ending surgery or defer another couple of weeks -- but said the shoulder had “gotten stronger the last couple of days ... faster than I thought.”

He was cleared by team doctor Steve Lombardo, but, indeed, there will be some discomfort.

“So what?” Odom said. “I can do a chin-up right now [and] push-ups. It’s strong enough to hold up, so I’ll be all right. I will play on Thursday, no doubt about it.”

The news couldn’t come at a better time for the Lakers or Odom, who had been slow to return from a knee injury but had shown signs of recapturing his early-season form before hurting his shoulder. He averaged 22.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in his last two games before being injured by Sacramento center Brad Miller while attempting a shot late in a March 2 game.


Odom, 27, sustained a torn labrum in the same shoulder in March 2005 and missed the Lakers’ last 17 games that season. He ultimately underwent surgery that required a four-month recovery.

He will probably require surgery again this summer, but there’s a remote chance he won’t need it.

“When the season’s over, I’ll get an MRI [exam] and take it from there,” Odom said.


There was other injury news of note. Surprisingly, none of it was bad for the Lakers.

Ronny Turiaf returned Sunday after a two-game absence because of back problems and Luke Walton said he would play Thursday against Denver.

Walton suited up for Sunday’s game but did not play. He has missed 21 games because of a sprained right ankle and tendinitis in the ankle.

“This is the best it’s felt since I got hurt,” Walton said.