Clippers' Kaman hopes to be ready for Game 5

Updated: May 15, 2006, 9:04 PM ET
Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman hopes to play Tuesday night in the fifth game of the Western Conference semifinals at Phoenix despite a strained right shoulder that kept him out of Game 4.

"I'll be good to go tomorrow," Kaman said Monday after receiving treatment at the Clippers' practice facility. "It's all about handling the pain. My movement's a lot better. I'll be happy to get back on the court."

Kaman, wearing an ice pack on his shoulder, made his comments about 15 minutes after coach Mike Dunleavy said he doubted the 7-foot center would be able to play in Game 5. Kaman sat out Sunday night's 114-107 victory that tied the series 2-2.

"I honestly couldn't get my arm up over my shoulder," Kaman said before the Clippers headed to the airport for their flight to Phoenix. "It's gotten 60, 70 percent better today."

The 24-year-old Kaman was injured during Game 3 on Friday night, when he had 11 points and seven rebounds in a 94-91 loss. Dunleavy said Kaman didn't know when or how he got hurt, and his shoulder didn't start bothering him until well after the game ended.

"It's a bit frustrating, to miss a playoff game after playing the whole season," Kaman said. "I honestly couldn't lift my arm over my shoulder."

He had an MRI on Monday that showed no structural damage, and he was listed by the team as day-to-day.

"There's no way he could play today," Dunleavy said. "Who knows? Maybe he can play tomorrow. I doubt it. To me, it seems more likely Thursday than tomorrow night unless he's got recuperative powers I don't know about."

Kaman emerged after treatment with a different take.

"It's my injury," he said. "I haven't tried to shoot. I have 24 hours-plus to get ready."

Dunleavy said before Sunday's shootaround, he was under the impression that Kaman's shoulder was sore but that he'd be able to play in Game 4. The coach left Kaman on the active roster before finding out he wouldn't be able to go.

Vladimir Radmanovic started in Kaman's place, and scored 13 points.

"We saw last night where the versatility of our team kicked in," Dunleavy said, adding if Kaman couldn't go, he would probably go with the same starting lineup in Game 5 as in Game 4.

Despite the absence of Kaman, the Clippers outrebounded the Suns 55-37 Sunday night.

"He brings a lot -- his size, rebounding ability, moves around the post," teammate Elton Brand said about Kaman.

And if Kaman can't play?

"We'll be prepared," Brand said.

"If he's out, we'll have to take up the slack," teammate Corey Maggette said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press