Steve Blake nears return

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake practiced with the team Saturday and could return to game action as soon as next week.

"He's going to play pretty soon," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said when asked about Blake after practice. "I don't know when that is, but he's working his way back. I think he wants to get in some running (Saturday) so we'll see how that goes. Everyday will be a test for him. If he keeps passing those barriers, then you’ll see him on the court pretty soon."

After practice, Blake took to Twitter and was specific about his return: "The #RoadtoRecovery was long, but I'm back for the @Lakers Tuesday night #GoLakers"

Blake has been out since Nov. 11 and underwent abdominal surgery in early December. While rehabbing his abdomen, Blake began to experience pain in his groin and has received a platelet-rich plasma injection as well as a cortisone shot to his groin area in the last several weeks to try to combat the pain.

The Lakers play host to the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night before beginning a seven-game road trip Wednesday against Phoenix.

"I think he’s got a shot," D'Antoni said of the possibility of Blake making his return Tuesday at home against New Orleans.

Blake finished practice by participating in a half-court game of 4-on-4 and was matched up against Darius Morris.

Blake has played in only seven games this season, averaging 5.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals.

While it was a sight for sore eyes to see Blake back practicing with his teammates, it was also notable to see Blake's freshly-shorn face.

"He shaved," D'Antoni said. "Look at him, he looks 20 years old out there. He’s ready to roll."