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Lakers' walking wounded slowly nearing returns

This season, an injury report from the Lakers is rarely brief. Seven of the team's 15 players are battling through ailments.

Kobe Bryant, who suffered a lateral tibial plateau fracture in his left knee on Dec. 17, will be evaluated Tuesday by Dr. Stephen Lombardo of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.

Bryant was originally declared out for six weeks.

Xavier Henry, also out with a knee injury, was examined Monday by Lombardo. He is still out with a bone bruise, scheduled to be reevaluated next week.

Henry was injured Dec. 29 in a loss at Staples Center to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Lakers have been decimated most at point guard but could receive three players back relatively quickly.

"Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar both saw Dr. [Luga] Podesta [of the Podesta Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute] today. They both were given a green light to sort of ramp up what they're going to do," said Lakers spokesman John Black. "They're not cleared for full practices yet, but they're cleared for basketball-related [activities], which they did today."

Blake was declared out for six weeks on Dec. 12 with a torn ligament in his right elbow. Farmar, who tore his left hamstring for the second time this season Dec. 31 in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, is sidelined for an estimated four weeks.

"It's just a matter of going a little while without any setbacks," said Farmar. "I've been bored ... with this injury, you don't feel too injured. It's not painful. You don't feel hurt."

Both will ramp up their activities throughout the week but neither will play Tuesday when the Lakers host the Indiana Pacers or Friday at Staples Center against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Although Steve Nash missed practice Monday with a tweaked back, he hopes to return to practice Thursday. Nash has missed most of the season because of back issues.

Jodie Meeks skipped practice with a sore foot but after an MRI exam with a specialist showed no fracture, he's listed as probable for Tuesday.

Pau Gasol also sat out Monday, nursing a sore toe, but is also expected to play against Indiana.

The Lakers may finally get to a full roster, but at 16-29, the team is 9 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Dallas Mavericks (26-20). Dallas owns the head-to-head tiebreaker, making the true Lakers' deficit 10 1/2 games.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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