Davis, Camby none the worse for wear

Dillman is a Times staff writer.

Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said that the only positive thing coming from their most recent loss to Utah was that nobody got hurt.

That’s not a joke for the 0-4 Clippers.

Certainly Marcus Camby and Baron Davis felt the expected soreness when they got up and around Tuesday. But there were no apparent serious setbacks for Davis, who had sat out one game because of a sore left hip and is hampered by a sprained finger.

And Camby didn’t play the entire preseason and missed the first three games of the regular season because of a bruised right heel.


“I was definitely surprised,” said Camby, who played 26 minutes Monday in an 89-73 loss to Utah. “I thought I’d be a whole lot more winded than I was. Don’t get me wrong, my lungs were definitely on fire. It was just like old times. I still have a whole lot of work to do and a whole lot of catching up to do.”

Said Dunleavy: “He kept saying he felt OK and he was doing enough good things out there. He gave a good effort defensively, passed the ball and made some shots.”

It sounded as though Davis’ surprise return was propelled more by instinct, the same way he runs the court.

“That’s like the story of my career,” he said. “I’m always playing, always coming back the game before [I should]. Anything I feel I can give, I’m going to try to give. Any glimpse of hope. All I want to hear is, ‘You’re OK to play.’ ”

Davis was talking while his legs and hips were being stretched. He said the hip injury was more in the gluteus area. Unfortunately, he said, the pain of that new injury didn’t take away from the discomfort of his sprained finger.

“I’m still having problems trying to adjust to the finger,” he said. “Trying to get it stronger, mobile enough to where I can not play with a splint.

“It’s just a process. Our team is just learning early. I think we’re going to have our bumps and bruises early. We just want to be .500 around January, going into All-Star weekend. That’s our goal.”

After AI

The first person Camby heard from Monday after the trade sending Allen Iverson to Detroit was the Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony has watched his friends be dispatched from Denver, one by one: Camby to the Clippers in the summer, and now Iverson. The Nuggets acquired Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess from the Pistons.

“Melo is by himself now,” Camby said. “He said his phone was ringing off the hook. He was in disbelief. Deep down inside, we all understand the nature of the business.”

Camby, once he got over his initial shock, thought the deal worked for both sides. “I think it can be win-win for both teams,” he said. “Detroit is getting a Hall of Famer in AI. I could be here all day talking about him, and Denver is getting a point guard that we always coveted, a hometown hero. Chauncey is from Denver. He can set up Nene.”