Jordan Clarkson believes he will play in Lakers’ opener

first_imgWith a smile on his face, Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson stood out on the practice court on Saturday without any noticeable signs that anything bothered him. That marked a stark contrast from when Clarkson reported feeling “a little sharp pain” in his right shoulder in the Lakers’ preseason finale against Golden State on Thursday. Then, Clarkson left midway through the second quarter before spending the rest of the evening wearing ice.Recalled Lakers coach Byron Scott: “We were scared to death after the game about him even missing the opener.”But after an MRI exam on Friday showed nothing more than soreness in his right shoulder, Clarkson practiced on Saturday and sounded optimistic about his health. Will Clarkson play when the Lakers host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Staples Center?“I think so,” said Clarkson, though the Lakers will have a better idea early next week. Clarkson also revealed that he has two strained muscles behind his right shoulder. But Clarkson contended that the level of pain from Friday to Saturday dropped from five or six to three or two on a scale of one to 10. “I feel like that will be gone Monday or Tuesday as long as I keep getting treatment and keep working,” Clarkson said. “I’ll be all right.”Swift changesAmid persistent injuries and losing, Scott employed 16 different starting lineups during the 2014-15 season. Scott also rarely hesitated to make lineup changes if he became unhappy with a players’ performance. Will he do the same in the 2015-16 campaign?“If somebody is not getting the job done, it’s just like last year to a certain extent,” Scott said. “If I don’t see the productivity on both ends of the floor, I won’t have a problem or hesitate to make changes.”Deadline loomingThe Lakers have until Monday to trim their 16-player roster at least down to 15. The Lakers will likely have to choose from retaining Metta World Peace or Jabari Brown. The pros and cons on keeping each player vary. The 35-year-old World Peace is two years removed from the NBA, but he could bolster the Lakers’ with his defense and mentorship. The 22-year-old Brown has upside and can score, but the Lakers have a bloated backcourt. Said Scott: “Either way that goes will be a tough one. But I have to do it.” • HEISLER: Jim Buss sticks head up, gets pie to faceIt appeared likely Clarkson would at least sit out of Saturday’s practice after the Lakers said they planned to treat him “conservatively.” So did Scott until Lakers trainer Gary Vitti told him otherwise.“Gary told me today he wanted to see where he was and if he can shoot the ball,” Scott said. “My first thought is, ‘He’s not doing anything today.’ But Gary said, ‘No I think he’s fine. Let him out there and see what he can do. That’s what we did.”Not entirely. Scott described the Lakers’ practice on Saturday as “real light,” consisting of nothing more than five-on-zero half-court drills. Scott reported Clarkson completing all drills at 50 percent pace. And Clarkson said he did not takes any shots, conceding that the injured shoulder affects when he’s “lifting up a little bit.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more