LOS ANGELES — Charlotte Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker practiced Thursday for the first time since spraining his left ankle Jan. 18 against the Miami Heat.
He was able to go through all activity in a 1 1/2-hour session at Southern Cals Galen Center. So if theres no setback, it looks like Walker might play either Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers or Saturday against the Phoenix Suns.
Im definitely close, Walker told the Observer, while icing down his ankle. Ive been working extensively on my ankle to get back. Im just ready to play, tired of sitting on sidelines.
I dont want to rush anything but Ill definitely get back out there.
The Bobcats have done surprisingly well in his absence, going 3-2 including victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. But center Al Jefferson has been carrying a heavy scoring load of late and needs the support Walker can provide.
Walker is second on the Bobcats in scoring at 18.7 points per game and second on assists at five per game.
The Bobcats didnt do any contact drills in practice Thursday, but Walker did sprint and cut to test the joint.
It was better than I expected, Walker said. There are a few things (still not there yet), like curling.
Coach Steve Clifford said Walkers availability for the Lakers game wont be settled until shootaround Friday morning or before gametime. But he saw nothing at practice Thursday that concerned him about Walkers recovery.
Hell either play (against the Lakers) or hes close, Clifford said.
Rick Bonnell: (704) 358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell