Clippers get Chris Kaman back against Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Chris Kaman(notes) is back with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 7-footer played 9 minutes, 31 seconds in a reserve role in Wednesday’s 98-90 win at Minnesota, his sprained left ankle finally healed to the point where he was able to take the floor. Kaman’s brief appearance was productive, too, with four points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

He said afterward his ankle felt all right, just a little sore.

“But I expected that,” he said. “It just needs more and more strengthening, and it has to get used to playing again. It has to get used to running up and down and jumping and getting beaten up on a lot. I’m trying to be positive about it and just keep moving forward.”

Kaman first got hurt Nov. 9 against New Orleans, returned for two games and aggravated the injury Dec. 5 against Portland. He missed 45 games in all and 34 in a row.

With four games in five nights after the All-Star break, the Clippers wanted to give Kaman some rest over the long weekend before increasing his time.

“I’ve got to do whatever’s best for myself and also what’s best for the team,” Kaman said. “I’ve got to make sure my career stays in good position, so I’ve got to make sure the ankle is healthy.”

Coach Vinny Del Negro also said the team hopes to have scoring leader Eric Gordon(notes) back next week after the break. He sprained his right wrist when he fell Jan. 22 against Golden State.

“Let’s find out exactly what kind of team we have when we get healthy in a week or so,” Del Negro said. “I’m looking forward to the other half.”

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Updated Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011