Steve Blake (1999-2003), playing for the Lakers again this year, has been out since November 11, when he strained an abdominal muscle in a game against the Kings. He subsequently had surgery on December 5, and is expected to be out until mid-to-late January. Team officials say his recovery is progressing well, though:
After almost every practice, Lakers guard Steve Blake works on his jumper, trying to keep his touch while waiting to rejoin the team in full.
Blake has been sidelined with an abdominal strain since Nov. 11, when he couldn't push through a Lakers win over the Sacramento Kings. After rest didn't fix the problem, he had surgery Dec. 5, which was expected to keep him out an additional six to eight weeks. [...]
[Coach Mike] D'Antoni isn't concerned about the time Blake has missed, even though all he can do is cheer for his teammates during practice.
" 'Way to go guys', that's where he is right now," said D'Antoni. "He knows how to play. I'm not worried about him stepping back in and playing. He's going to have to go through a process getting himself back into shape and ready, but that's still a few weeks off."
Meanwhile on the east coast, the Celtics' Chris Wilcox (2000-02) is out indefinitely since spraining his thumb on December 18. He will not need surgery, but still cannot play:
Wilcox said he was hurt when he fell in a game vs. Chicago Dec. 18 but didn't realize how bad the injury was until he tried to palm the ball a few days later.
"I tried to catch myself," said Wilcox. "I thought I just jammed it. I just taped it up. When I came here, it was killing me."
A doctor told Wilcox he needs to take some time off to let the injury heal. Wilcox said he won't need surgery, and for now he's wearing a plastic brace on his thumb that prevents him from doing any kind of rehab.
Fortunately, his other fingers still work fine.