While the rest of the world – or at least the country – was preparing Super Bowl snacks, the Lakers gathered at the team’s practice facility for a session after a rare off day on Saturday.
Granted, the players would have plenty of time to get home before kick off, but they got a few hours or work in without the latest key player who’s fallen to injury, Pau Gasol*.
*L.A. already leads the league by a considerable margin in games missed with 158, a total that will continue to rise.
The Spaniard is expected to miss at least one week after an MRI revealed a strain of his right groin. One could make the argument that the Lakers are now without their five best players in game action: Gasol; Kobe Bryant (knee); Steve Nash (back); Steve Blake (elbow); and Jordan Farmar (hamstring). The point guards, however, all practiced for a second consecutive time, with Nash and Blake still in consideration to play on Tuesday.
“They looked good,” said Mike D’Antoni. “I think they came through it OK. We have another practice tomorrow, so we’ll see how they (look afterwards), but it looks pretty good.”
D’Antoni may not determine Tuesday’s line up until that morning’s shootaround in Minneapolis. If Blake and Nash are able to play, they’re in line to split backcourt duties with current starters Kendall Marshall and Jodie Meeks. Meanwhile, D’Antoni could slide Chris Kaman into Gasol’s starting center slot, and keep the bench rotation as is with Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre.
In short, all currently injured players but Bryant may be back on the floor within a couple of weeks, but the 16-31 Lakers are in such a big hole that they’re closer to having the league’s worst record (Milwaukee, 8-39) than they are to the playoffs in the West (Memphis, 26-20, is the No. 8 seed).