Chris Kaman wants to play Thursday

Updated: November 23, 2010, 9:25 AM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

Clippers center Chris Kaman said he wants to return -- about a week ahead of schedule -- for Thursday's game against the Sacramento Kings from an ankle injury that has kept him out since Nov. 9.

Whether he'll actually do so is still up for debate.

"I think I'll play Thursday," Kaman said after the Clippers' 99-95 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night.

"Our trainers have done a good job, and I've been doing everything I can to get back."

Kaman originally was projected to miss at least three to four weeks, but he said he's progressed rapidly in the past week. He's been running on the team's underwater treadmill and the Alter-G (anti-gravity) treadmill recently, and come through it well.

The plan is for Kaman to practice Tuesday and Wednesday, then be evaluated before Thursday's game.

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro was far less optimistic, however.

"He thinks that," Del Negro said of Kaman's chances to play Thursday. "But we have to see how he does Tuesday and Wednesday, see how his ankle reacts. If we play him Thursday and it blows up, then he's out again.

"We have to be smart about it. He's a little more optimistic because he wants to get out there."

The Clippers host Sacramento on Thursday, then travel to Phoenix on Friday. They're off Saturday before hosting the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Ramona Shelburne is a contributor to ESPNLosAngeles.com.

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