Camby plays mind games

Dillman is a Times staff writer.

Maybyner Rodney Hilario, also known as Nene, wasn’t quite sure what to think when his former teammate and mentor Marcus Camby informed him that he was going to play Friday night.

Wrong (pseudo) holiday. Nope, this wasn’t April 1.

“But he told me he was going to try and get out there a little bit, and I was like, ‘Don’t play, man. Don’t play,’ ” said Nene, the Nuggets’ center.

Camby, who has been sidelined by a bruised right heel, was able to play with the mind of his Brazilian protege, if only for a few minutes.


“He had a little comment in the [Denver] paper today. Said I was scared,” Camby said in the hallway before Friday’s game. “I said, ‘Oh yeah, I’m scared. OK, we’ll see tonight when I’m playing 35 minutes.’

“He said, ‘Oh? You playing? You playing?’ I said, ‘No, I’m just joking.’ I just wanted to get him riled up.”

Nene had the last word.

“See, he can’t lie,” he said. “He can’t lie. I’ve known him for six years. He can joke, but he can’t lie.”


There is an outside chance that Camby will play tonight at Utah, but it is more likely he will come back Monday against the Jazz at Staples Center.

“It was pretty sore when I woke up this morning, which was going to be expected,” said Camby, who had his first contact in practice Thursday. “It’s just a process. I was able to do some running today.

“It felt pretty good. I’m still targeting Monday.”

Bound for D-League?


There is a chance rookie Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, again inactive, could refine his game in the Development League.

“Basically, with DJ, he’s a rookie and he’s got a lot to learn yet,” Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “We really have been pleased by what he’s done and how hard he works, but there’s such a curve.

“A lot of these guys come in and they haven’t seen different sets around the league, it doesn’t come automatically to them. You’ve got to experience it a little more, in his case.”