Archive for the 'Injury News' Category

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Injury Update: Steve Blake

blakeLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemWith Steve Nash (root nerve irritation) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) already nursing various ailments, Steve Blake was the latest in line to be hit with the injury bug. He was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after undergoing an MRI before Thursday’s practice, and is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks.

“I’m disappointed,” Blake said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s not something I wanted to go through right now, but crazy things happen. You have to try and stay positive. It’s a long season. I’ll eventually be back, and try to finish strong.”

Blake originally hurt the elbow in the second half of the team’s road contest at Washington on Nov. 26. In six games since, he was shooting just 34.6 percent field goals and 28.1 percent on three-pointers compared to 40.7 percent from the floor and 46.0 percent from the three-point line prior to injury.

“How tough is Steve Blake?,” Kobe Bryant said. “He’s played with it since D.C. He played phenomenally well with it. That’s incredible.”

Pau Gasol echoed similar sentiments.

“Playing through that elbow injury was incredible with what he’s been able to do,” he said. “He didn’t really take a practice off.”

On the year, Blake had been averaging a team-high 31.5 minutes, to go along with 9.8 points and 7.7 assists. He was shooting 40.0 percent from distance and ranked 20th in the league in three-point field goals made (40). The Maryland product had also recorded nine double-digit assist games, including a 16-assist outing against Detroit that tied his career-high.

“He’s worked so hard and he plays so hard,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s really a testament to his courage and toughness. He practiced left-handed, but then he would play right-handed. We’ll have to close ranks and get it done.”

More than just missing Blake orchestrating the offense, Bryant realizes they’ll miss his presence on the defensive side of the ball.

“Steve’s really tough, really tough,” Bryant said. “He’s really solid defensively. He does a great job of staying in front of point guards. We have some adjustments to make. We have our work cut out for us.”

Injury Update: Jordan Farmar

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn NetsLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemJordan Farmar, who tore his left hamstring in the first quarter of a Dec. 1 loss to Portland, showed healing and improvement in the area in an additional ultrasound exam on Monday afternoon with Dr. Luga Podesta.

Farmar “still has a ways to go” before he returns to practice or games, according to team spokesman John Black.

Farmar will accompany the team on their upcoming road trip through Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis from Dec. 13-17, getting treatment and doing rehabilitation work with the training staff throughout.

The UCLA product and L.A. native will be re-evaluated upon the team’s return to Los Angeles.

Bryant Nears Return

ts_131205kobebryant670Kobe Bryant practiced for the third straight day without any setbacks, a possible return date looming days, not weeks, away, according to coach Mike D’Antoni.

Bryant will not play in Friday’s away game at Sacramento, but Sunday’s home contest against Toronto remains a possibility. Post practice, Bryant explained what he wants to see from himself the next two days should he return.

“Getting a rhythm under my legs, as far as stopping on a dime, raising up and shooting,” Bryant said. “And getting your game legs underneath you where you can shoot a jump shot comfortably.

Two weeks ago, Bryant went through two straight practices when the team had four days off in between games, but skipped out on a third straight practice day because of “general soreness.”

What had improved from then until now?

“My range of motion is a lot better where it’s not after the first day or so, or the last time I practiced, where my range of motion became restricted,” Bryant said. “It became kind of locked up and I wasn’t able to run, change directions or sprint like I wanted to. I don’t feel like I have any limitations, really. The change of gear is not where I want it to be, but it’s easy to compensate and go out there and be effective.”

The ankle joint now, not the Achilles, is where Bryant is still trying to properly work through, in terms of endurance.

“That’s the thing that’s been restrictive,” he said. “You’re talking about months of immobility. You kind of have to work through that a little bit. There’s still some scar tissue there that needs to be broken up and that’s done through movement, therapy and mobilizations.”

Bryant feels he’s conditioned enough now, as he’s put in extra running and weight-room sessions outside of normal practice time with the team, but there is still that final hurdle he needs to clear before declaring himself game-shape ready.

“My sea legs aren’t there yet,” he said. “The pull up jump shots and the fadeaways, my sea legs aren’t quite there yet to be able to do that. We have to see how it feels tonight. I’m going to try and get in another hard session in. Tomorrow morning I’ll try to push it again and same thing tomorrow evening. Just continue to keep on measuring it.”

Injury Update: Steve Nash

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas MavericksLakers Injury Report Aside from Kobe Bryant practicing in preparation for his impending return, Steve Nash also participated, including some 5-on-5 scrimmaging, according to coach Mike D’Antoni. Nash did not go through the entirety of it with the rest of his teammates in an effort not to rush him back too soon, too fast. The plan for now is to increase his minutes each day, barring no setbacks.

“We didn’t want to push him,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll give him 10 (minutes) today, 15 (minutes) tomorrow, 20 (minutes) the next day. We’ll try to ramp him up. I don’t know (if he plays Friday). It depends on how he feels tomorrow and can he go 15 (minutes) and can he go 20 (minutes).”

While the Lakers were away on their most recent three-game road trip, Nash spent the time in Vancouver working out with his own therapist.

“It was weird,” he said of being apart from the team. “The only thing that made it acceptable for me was that I was improving every day. It was really worthwhile. I made big strides and I could feel it everyday. The amount of work I could do and sustain and the different things I could do was a huge week and it gave me a chance.”

Nash could not elaborate on whether he felt better or worse compared to the start of training camp, but remained optimistic he was heading in the right direction.

“I’ve had so many different injuries pop up,” Nash said. “Although I thought I could overcome the nerve issues, I think when you’re playing with a tweaked ankle, back spasms or a thigh bruise, it aids or abets that poor movement that allows that nerve root to become impinged. It’s difficult to translate or compare but I’m on the right path and I improved a great deal this week.”

Despite much improvement over the last week, Nash says he feels no added pressure to rush back and return with Jordan Farmar out approximately four weeks with a torn hamstring. Steve Blake remains the only healthy point guard on the roster and Xavier Henry played some fourth-quarter minutes at the position in the team’s last home game against Portland.

“I don’t think I can have that urgency,” Nash said. “My nature is to play through things and I’ve done that my whole career, but I think that’s foolish at this stage. If I race to come back Friday and it’s not quite right, I could be out forever, or for months. So I think it’s really important, whether I can play Friday or not, to make the right decision and not be hasty.”

Below is a transcription of other questions Nash addressed post practice:
Q: On the frustration he feels trying to work his way back:
Nash: I think I’ve really had to adjust my focus and my approach or else I would go crazy. I’ve tried to worry about the things I can control, try to embrace the challenge and work hard every day to get better, and embrace that part of it. I think that’s the only approach. If I have the same approach I’ve always had, it’s going to be detrimental. I just have to adjust and that’s easier said than done. Sometimes I get a good night’s sleep to have that same approach the next day.

Q: On if he sees the end of his career nearing:
Nash: The finish is close regardless. I’ve got 18 months or so of basketball left. How much of that 18 months I get to play crosses my mind everyday. Every day I’m out is a day lost. It’s not so much that way when you have eight or 10 years left in your career. But when you’re at the end like this, it can put pressure on you and make things different and difficult. I have to be as positive and engaged every day in a different set of circumstances and try to keep getting better to give myself a chance.

Q: On how he felt today in practice:
Nash: I don’t know about a quick comeback but I was encouraged. I practiced today some and I feel OK. I have no doubt that I’ll get back on the court. I think with all the issues with my spine and my condition, it’s a matter of how sustainable is it. That’s what I’m working hard on every day – to try to develop that quality, endurance and movements so I don’t decline and be susceptible to all the demands of the game.

Q: On what the last week of rehab went:
Nash: It got me back on the court. I went from not being able to practice to being able to practice. I made a lot of improvements.

Q: On the plan moving forward from today:
Nash: I don’t know if I can give you the actual minutes, but definitely it was great to get up and down for 10 minutes. Hopefully (it’s) more tomorrow – whatever that is – without setbacks in the morning or the next day. I’ll just keep progressing. It’s unfortunate. It’s a tricky situation because I think typically you say: ‘I practice 10 today, if I practice 20 tomorrow and 30 on Thursday, I play on Friday.’ I think right now, there’s still some other subjective tests to make sure this is sustainable and not something that is not as tenuous as it has been recently where you feel good enough to play, but you play and it just deteriorates. It takes a lot of resolve to continue on that path everyday to try and really lighten things and strengthen and give yourself a chance.

Q: On if it’s out of the realm of possibility he’ll suit up Friday at Sacramento:
Nash: I don’t know if it’s out of the realm, but I’d say it’s very unlikely and very doubtful.

Q: On if there’s added pressure to return with Farmar out for four weeks:
Nash: For one, you want to be out there and two, the more games you miss, the longer you’re off the court, the farther it feels from the game. You lose your touch, your conditioning and your rhythm. Still, with all the injuries I faced and played with throughout the preseason and season, I still haven’t felt in touch with my game yet. It’s tough.

Q: On if he will consider coming off the bench for the team:
Nash: I’ll do whatever I can do to help the team, but the first thing is I have to be in a position where I can sustain the demands of the game. Right now, my back is susceptible to those things and right now until I can get moving in a way consistently and able to thrive under the demands rather than be affected so greatly as it has been the last three or four weeks, that’s step one.

Q: On if he feels better now than he did at the start of training camp:
Nash: No, I’m not in any great position right now. I’m better, but I’m not sitting here saying I feel phenomenal. I feel better, and I’m moving and trending in the right direction.

Q: On if he kept in touch with any of the guys while away:
Nash: I watched everything. I texted back and forth with the staff, talked to Gary (Vitti) a couple times, but I didn’t really talk to them. I was in the gym twice a day and usually they were on the court when I was going home. It was tough to be so far away.

Injury Update: Steve Nash

2013 Global Games - ShanghaiLakers Injury Report Point guard Steve Nash played just 13 minutes against Minnesota before the coaching staff elected to sit him after halftime because of back pain.

“I’m concerned,” coach Mike D’Antoni said postgame. “He was struggling physically tonight, you could just see it on his face and that’s why I took him out. We shut him down more or less. He was struggling.”

Steve Blake also expressed concern for his teammate.

“I hate to see him struggling like that with injuries,” Blake said. “Hopefully we can get him back (soon).”

Postgame, Nash addressed assembled media members and discussed his injury.

Nash has played in six of the team’s eight games this season, sitting out both times during the team’s two back-to-back contests. The 18-year NBA veteran has consistently acknowledged that he still deals with nerve damage from a lower leg fracture suffered last year at Portland.

Jodie Meeks, who finished with 16 points, started in place of Nash alongside Blake in the second half.

Board Cleaner Hill (Knee) To Play in Dallas

Atlanta Hawks v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemJordan Hill first mentioned some soreness in his right knee during the preseason, and on Monday had an MRI exam on the area that revealed a bone bruise.

Such a bruise can be painful to deal with, but will not keep Hill off the court; the Lakers confirmed he will play in Tuesday evening’s game at Dallas.

Despite averaging only 14 minutes per game, Hill has been very useful off the bench, especially on the glass. In fact, Hill currently leads the NBA in offensive rebounding percentage (23.3 percent), while his teammate Pau Gasol is atop the NBA in defensive board percentage (38.3). Overall, they rank fourth and fifth in total rebound percentage (21.7 and 21.4).

According to @BSports, nine of Hill’s 13 offensive boards thus far have come in the fourth quarter, which easily leads the NBA. Hill is also hitting 73.3 percent of his shots, leading the NBA, in a small sample size off 11 makes in 15 attempts.

The question for Hill moving forward is how much time he can get on the court when Mike D’Antoni prefers playing him at center … which is also the preferred spot for Gasol (26 minutes per game, sure to go up) and Chris Kaman (16.5 minutes per game). Against Atlanta, Gasol played 27:41, Kaman 16:03 and Hill 13:36, with Shawne Williams playing 17:44 as the starting power forward and Wesley Johnson 20:56 at the backup 4 and 3. Hill did close the game alongside Gasol in the front court. D’Antoni has praised Hill’s effort and indicated he’d like to play him more minutes, but still generally prefers to utilize Williams and Johnson at the 4 to better space the floor with the threat of a three-point shot.

“The players will determine that, and the team will determine that,” D’Antoni said of his rotation. “As one group plays better, then we’ll do it. I don’t think we’re at that point where we can determine what’s the best yet.”

Or, in Gasol’s words: “We’re a deep roster and Mike is utilizing a lot of the guys. There’s different factors. I like Jordan (Hill) to get more minutes and Chris (Kaman) to get more minutes. Even though it might not be perfect for the system and spacing, (Hill’s) energy and effort makes up for a lot of things.”

Hill has kept it more simple, saying he’d clearly like to be on the floor as much as possible, and is going to play the same way no matter what. Meanwhile, he and the Lakers will knock on wood that Hill’s knee doesn’t become any more problematic, and the pain remains manageable.

Injury Update: Wesley Johnson and Jordan Farmar

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report Wesley Johnson (strained tendon) and Jordan Farmar (calf strain), who both missed Tuesday’s preseason game against Denver, are unlikely to play in the team’s contest against Sacramento in Las Vegas on Thursday.

“They’re getting better,” coach Mike D’Antoni said after Wednesday’s practice. “They probably won’t play tomorrow just to be careful. Maybe in Beijing they’ll play, but right now, doubtful they’ll play tomorrow.”

Johnson left Sunday’s game against Denver late in the first quarter and did not return. An MRI showed that he has a strained tendon, and the team listed him as day-to-day. Farmar did not play the last two preseason games (he was held out of Sunday’s game for rest), although he did go through pregame drills before Tuesday’s game.

Injury Update: Wesley Johnson and Xavier Henry

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report Swingman Wesley Johnson, who started his first game as a Laker, played just eight minutes and exited the game after straining his left foot. He finished with two points and three rebounds.

“There was some burning sensation in his foot,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’re hoping (it is) not bad.”

Xavier Henry also suffered a minor injury, with what’s being called a moderately sprained right wrist. Henry said after the game that he landed on the wrist at one point, but did not disclose when it occurred.

“I fell on it wrong (tonight),” he said. “But I won’t miss any time. I’ll be fine.”

Henry scored 15 points off the bench in 24 minutes, and led the club in scoring for the second straight preseason game.

Ryan Kelly Injury Update

Ryan Kelly Media AvailabilityLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemLakers forward Ryan Kelly had his right foot examined on Monday. The examination was performed by Dr. Kenneth Jung, a foot specialist of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.

The diagnosis from the CT scan was that Kelly is a minimum of 6 weeks from being cleared for running and jumping.

Kelly underwent surgery on his right foot on April 9th, 2013. He was drafted with the 48th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Lakers after spending 4 years at Duke.

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MWP Joins List of Lakers Out for Game 4

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game ThreeLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemDue to a bothersome cyst on his left knee that Metta World Peace had drained prior to Game 3, the starting small forward will miss Sunday’s Game 4 against San Antonio, joining the large list of Lakers unavailable for the contest.

World Peace did not play in the second half of Game 3′s loss, watching from the bench as L.A. fell behind 0-3 in the series. Sitting next to him were Steve Blake (strained hamstring), Jodie Meeks (sprained ankle) and Steve Nash (back/hip/hamstring issues), as they will once again on Sunday (Kobe Bryant watched from the locker room).

Mike D’Antoni confirmed that none of those players will be available, leaving Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock as the starting backcourt for the second straight game. Earl Clark will slide into the starting line up for World Peace.

Goudelock scored 20 points with three steals in 40 minutes, while Morris went for 24 points and six assists in the losing effort.