Blazers' Pendergraph runs full speed; could be cleared to play by Christmas Day

Portland Trail Blazers rookie forward Jeff Pendergraph said Saturday he could be cleared to play by Dec. 25.

Pendergraph, who underwent surgery Sept. 9 to repair a left hip impingement, would take the court about a month ahead of schedule if he is able to play by that date. The former Arizona State standout was originally given a 10-12 week timeframe for his return, and was told early in the recovery process he might be out until the NBA All-Star break in mid-February.

Pendergraph approached full speed while running baseline drills following a morning shootaround morning at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin, Ore.

“It’s nice, man,” Pendergraph said. “I miss it. I miss it a lot. It feels good to actually finally be on the court and not spectating.”

Pendergraph began running Tuesday, and has been increasing his activity ever since.

“It’s good,” Pendergraph. “Everyday it’s getting a little more intense. … Trying to get back into basketball shape.”

Pendergraph said his ability to play will come down more to how he feels, rather than medical tests.

The rookie forward has received monthly check ups since his surgery, and was last reviewed three weeks ago. He is been evaluating by two doctors during his recovery process.

“If it starts hurting, then I’m not ready yet or I’m doing too much,” Pendergraph said. “We’re just trying to build it up so.”

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