Recovering from ankle sprain, Vujacic returns to practice

Updated: October 20, 2008, 6:36 PM ET
Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Sasha Vujacic went through his first practice with the Los Angeles Lakers since spraining his left ankle on the first day of training camp.

"It feels good. There are just certain movements, certain things I can't do," the 24-year-old guard said Monday. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow and go from there."

Vujacic, who signed a three-year, $15 million contract July 28, has said he hopes to play in one of the Lakers' three remaining exhibition games this week and be ready when the season begins Oct. 28 against Portland.

"He looked OK," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I saw him limping a little bit at one time. No complaints."

Vujacic was injured Sept. 30 after colliding with backup center D.J. Mbenga in a scrimmage. An MRI exam confirmed the sprain, but also revealed an avulsion fracture of the ankle, which means a small, thin layer of bone was peeled away.

Vujacic averaged a career-high 8.8 points in 72 games last season, his fourth with the Lakers, and 8.1 points while playing in all 21 playoff games.

The Lakers made the 6-foot-7, 205-pounder from Slovenia the 27th overall pick in the 2004 draft. He averaged 2.9 points in 35 games as a rookie, 3.9 points in 82 games in his second professional season, and 4.3 points in 73 games in his third.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press