Things seemed bad enough from an injury standpoint with Kobe Bryant watching losses in Games 1 and 2 from his home in Orange County as his backcourt partner Steve Nash hobbled/battled his way through nerve issues in his back/hip/hamstring.
But in a season in which nearly everything has gone wrong from an injury standpoint, we learned on Friday that Steve Blake would be out indefinitely with a moderate hamstring strain, while Nash and Jodie Meeks (sprained left ankle) are doubtful for Friday’s Game 3.
Blake had an ultrasound on Friday to confirm the hamstring strain; Meeks had an MRI on his ankle; and Nash received two epidural injections in his back, in addition to a cortisone shot in his right hip.
Mike D’Antoni said that Nash is the more likely between he and Meeks to be able to play, but both are unlikely to see the floor.
As such, the Lakers would be without their top four guards, with 2011 second round picks Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock (the recently called-up 2012-13 D-League MVP) and Chris Duhon remaining to try and hold the fort.
Morris will likely start at point guard, charged with defending Tony Parker, which Blake did exceptionally well in the first two games. Parker did manage to explode for 15 of his 28 points in the third quarter of Game 2, hitting 9 of 20 shots and 9 of 10 free throws, after 18 points on 8 of 21 field goals in Game 1.
Goudelock may get the nod at off guard, his ability to create his own shot and knock down open threes coveted, with Duhon backing up both spots.
INJURY MONSTER (bug doesn’t cut it)
In the regular season, the Lakers lost 81 games to starters, and 171 overall, with almost every key rotation player missing at least four games:
- Steve Nash: lower left leg fracture (24 games); right hamstring/hip issues (8 games)
- Kobe Bryant: sprained left ankle (2 games); torn left Achilles tendon (2 games)
- Metta World Peace: torn lateral meniscus in left knee (6 games)
- Pau Gasol: tendinitis in both knees (8 games); concussion (5 games); torn plantar fascia in right foot (20 games)
- Dwight Howard: torn labrum in right shoulder (6 games)
- Jordan Hill: left hip injury (53 games)
- Steve Blake: abdominal injury (37 games)
Add in two missed playoff games for Bryant, one for Hill and Jodie Meeks plus the potential for four guards out for Game 3, and things have gone beyond ridiculous. A qualifier is the team’s collective age, making injuries more likely, but even head athletic trainer Gary Vitti said he’s never seen anything like this season from an injury perspective.
For comparison’s sake, here’s how three other Western teams have fared on the injury front from a games missed standpoint:
Lakers: 171 total, 81 starting five
Spurs: 86 total, 50 starting five
Clippers: 86 total, 17 starting five*
Thunder: 12 total, seven starting five
*Chauncey Billups also missed 60 games
Pretty rough for the purple and gold, to say the least, particularly as the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder have all gotten their key players back for the postseason.