I'm making it known right now that I'm a Warrior

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» Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:43 am
Ellis takes big step in recovery
Guard participates in 5-on-5 practice

(01-13) 21:57 PST -- Monta Ellis' first full practice of the season was distinguished by what he said as much as what he did. After trash talking through his most active workout yet, the rehabbing guard proceeded to trash any notions of being unhappy with the franchise he was re-signed to lead this past summer.

"Listen, whatever it is about me leaving, wanting to go, I don't want to play for Nellie - that never came from my mouth," Ellis said Tuesday. "I don't know where they got that from, but I'm here for the next six years. I'm a Warrior. I'm going to always be a Warrior. Whoever put that out there did it because they wanted a story.

"I'm making it known right now that I'm a Warrior," he continued. "I love playing for Nellie, and I never said (otherwise), not one time. So you don't have to worry about that. ... Only thing I'm worried about is getting back on the basketball court."

That could come any week now, legal leftovers notwithstanding. Ellis' agent, Jeff Fried, who filed a grievance against the Warriors over how they handled his client's moped accident, is scheduled to be in Oakland on Monday.

It's possible that Ellis will be healthy enough to suit up for a game around then after participating in 5-on-5 scrimmaging for the first time since injuring his left ankle in August. He went full-court at times Tuesday, if not quite at full speed or full contact, and declared himself both pain- and swelling-free.

In fact, Ellis said his conditioning is the main hurdle to cross before playing in his first NBA game since the end of last season.

"Anybody who's been off nine months and tries to play this game isn't going to have it yet," Ellis said. "But like I said, I'm going to work hard and see how it goes. ...

"I'm not going to go out there and just hurt my team going out there not in shape, just my presence. I'm going to take my time and get everything back 100 percent. When that time comes, I'll let everybody know when Monta Ellis is back in the starting lineup."

His teammates only had to listen to know that Ellis officially was back at practice. The 6-foot-3 guard, playing at small forward for the Warriors' reserves because of their lack of healthy bodies, wasn't shy about testing his ankle or vocal chords.

Though Ellis appeared to go at about 75 percent, he had his share of notable plays: stripping Corey Maggette on the perimeter and diving for the loose ball, curling off a screen for a mid-range jumper, and quick striding into the paint for a finger roll.

And there was trash talk through it all.

"The whole time, right? With his country slang," Jamal Crawford said with a smile. "He lifted the level of practice with his energy, his confidence."

"It feels great to be back here," Ellis said, "going back and forth with the guys, making everybody play harder, everybody laughing, everybody having a great time.

"I don't know when I'm coming back. I'm not going to say what percentage I am. Just continue to work hard, continue doing the things I'm doing to get to this point."

Briefly: Guard Marco Belinelli is expected to miss at least 10 days with a sprained right ankle he incurred against the Pacers on Sunday. That would make it about another week or so before the Warriors begin getting Ellis, Belinelli, Stephen Jackson (strained hamstring) and Brandan Wright (dislocated shoulder) back from injuries. ... Swingman Kelenna Azubuike did not practice and is day-to-day after straining his neck against Indiana.
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» Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:58 pm

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