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Steve Blake to miss Lakers-Cavaliers game

6a00d8341c506253ef0162ff7859b0970d-320wiLakers guard Steve Blake will be sidelined Friday night when the Lakers host the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center because of fractured cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum.

The Lakers currently list him as day-to-day; an MRI Thursday revealed the fracture. Still, Coach Mike Brown said he's leaning toward sitting Blake on Saturday when the Clippers host the Lakers at Staples Center for "precautionary reasons."

"It's sore," Blake said on his way out of the Lakers' practice facility. "It's about the same as it was. Everyday life stuff hurts. Breathing, throwing, anything like that.".

The team indicated Blake suffered the injury during the Lakers' 99-83 victory Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns, but Blake said he couldn't recall a specific play that made him feel sore after the game.

Blake aggravated it during the Lakers' 90-87 overtime victory over the Utah Jazz after making an awkward twist late in the third quarter. Blake left that game with 21 seconds remaining in the third quarter and favored his midsection while Lakers trainer Gary Vitti attended him on the sideline. Although Blake returned to the bench, he didn't play the rest of the game.

"Even if he makes a hard move, it can hurt him or bother him," Brown said of Blake, who can't participate in any on-court activity and rehab efforts involve icing and resting.

Despite Blake's absence, the Lakers enter Friday's game against Cleveland with more depth. Forwards Josh McRoberts, Jason Kapono and Troy Murphy participated in drills during morning shoot-around, and Brown believes all three will play. Kapono is definite; his two-game absence was not because of injury but because of the birth of his twin daughters. Brown said the Lakers' training staff will reevaluate McRoberts (sprained left big toe) and Murphy (gastroenteritis) before tipoff.

Still, Blake's absence severely hurts the Lakers' backcourt. Blake has averaged 7.3 points on 40.2% shooting and has often eaten into Derek Fisher's playing time, as the Lakers' starter has struggled with his shooting and conditioning. Rookie point guard Darius Morris  played in his first NBA game against Utah, posting four points with two assists and two turnovers in 13 minutes, an effort Brown said was a "nice job."

Brown hopes to keep Fisher at around 28 minutes and Morris at 20, but said that will hinge on their on-court performance. 

"You never want to see someone go down, and unfortunately Blake is injured," Morris said. "But I'm looking forward to maximizing my opportunity."

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 --Mark Medina

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Photo: Steve Blake shows some discomfort during Wednesday's game against the Utah Jazz. Credit: George Frey / EPA /

 
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