Kelly on Track for Friday Return

Six weeks after seeing his last minute of game time, Ryan Kelly says he is ready to take the court once again in Friday’s contest against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Kelly -- who has missed the Lakers’ last 22 games due to a torn hamstring suffered against Golden State on Nov. 16 -- participated fully in practices on Wednesday and Thursday. The second-year pro has only played 24 minutes in three games this season, but he is optimistic about getting back on the court Friday.

“(The hamstring) has responded fine,” Kelly said. “I haven’t had any problems. Like I’ve said, we’ve given it plenty of time to heal and then strengthen. I think I’m in a good position to put this behind me.”

Kelly says starting the season with so many injuries has been “very frustrating,” but he doesn’t feel limited by his hamstring anymore.

“You gotta get kind of into the game a little bit; get some shots and game-type situations,” Kelly said. “Only way you can do that is (to) go out and play. So that’ll take probably a little bit of time. But other than that, in terms of my leg, I feel great.”

Head coach Byron Scott also likes Kelly’s chances of playing against Memphis. Scott says that he will fit Kelly back into the rotation by shaving minutes from the team’s other bigs.

In particular, Scott is pleased to have Kelly — who has shot 33.8 percent on 3-pointers in the pros and 42.2 percent as a senior at Duke University — available to space the floor, since none of the other bigs have the ability to shoot from deep. In fact, the current bigs currently in the rotation — Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre — have made only one triple in their combined careers.

“I know I can find minutes for Ryan because I like the way Ryan plays,” Scott said. “He gives us something that we don’t have. He’s a stretch-four, very intelligent basketball player. So I know I’ll find minutes for him.”