Thursday, January 23, 2014

Injury Update: 1/23/14

Ugly season.
This train wreck of a season can't end fast enough. The Lakers are so badly injured, they don't have enough players to run their practices, using assistant coaches to fill out whatever spots are needed. Obviously, no team can go far with this many injuries. Here's what it looks like:

Lakers currently available: Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Nick Young, Ryan Kelly, Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman, Robert Sacre and Manny Harris. That's only nine players. Nine! The team can't run 5-on-5 drills because they simple don't have enough healthy bodies. And Harris only signed a 10 day contract, for which he only has four more days. His contract runs until Sunday.

Lakers on the fence: Pau Gasol (everything)

Lakers currently unavailable: Kobe Bryant (knee), Xavier Henry (knee), Jordan Farmar (hamstring), Steve Blake (elbow), Steve Nash (nerve). Just look at that list. You could field a semi competitive starting lineup with this group of injured players if you add a random center into the mix. That's five players on the disabled list, currently the most in the NBA, and this team is struggling to find a decent rotation. Marshall and Meeks have been playing heavy minutes and could end up getting injured themselves, should they continue to log in 40+ minutes per game. There isn't much Mike D'Antoni can do in this case; nobody could have predicted all three point guards going down and forcing the team to sign another from the D-League. Granted, Marshall has been very good, substantially better than we could have realistically hoped for, however the point remains the same: this team is cursed. Here's each player's timetables:

 Kobe Bryant: Bryant will be reevaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles, possibly on the 27th or the 28th. Bryant has been keeping his stamina up with bike exercises, however, until he gets medical clearance, he cannot return to the basketball court. And, Kobe wouldn't be Kobe if he didn't already say he would be back as soon as they let him. For our sake, please take as long as possible, Kobe.

Pau Gasol: Gasol just seems to be on and off with minor injuries, missing a few games here and there and it's likely affecting his production. Gasol's latest issue has been his foot, having sustained a moderate strain of the flexor tendon in the big toe of his left foot, originally sustaining this injury against the Clippers. I applaud Gasol for playing through it because who knows how badly the Lakers would play if they were missing him too. On the other hand, if he were to sit out, it might mean more minutes for Jordan Hill.

Xavier Henry: Henry hasn't yet returned to practice, but he has been running lateral drills and shooting drills. Henry doesn't sound too far off from returning, however he has been ruled out against Miami on Thursday and Orlando on Friday and will be reevaluated this weekend.

Jordan Farmar: If you recall, Farmar had initially torn his hamstring in early December, with the initial time table set for one month. Farmar made a surprise return against the Miami Heat and looked solid against them, however, he tore his hamstring in a different area shortly afterwards, requiring another month on the shelf. So far, no new information has come regarding Farmar's injury; I'd expect him to return sometime in mid-February, rather than late January or even early February.

Steve Blake: Vino Blanco, as Bryant once called him via Twitter, was diagnosed with a torn UCL in December and was expected to miss a minimum of 6 weeks. Blake had been participating lightly in practice, using his left hand as his dominant hand, and taking shots with the left. Blake will be reevaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles and a realistic timetable will likely be drawn up.

Steve Nash: Just retire already, Steve.