Archive for the 'Injury News' Category

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Murphy’s Law Injury Season Continues

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game TwoLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemThings 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.

Jordan Hill Cleared to Play

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemIt’s been rare that the Lakers have gotten good news on the injury front this season, but that’s what we have in advance of Wednesday’s Game 2: reserve big man Jordan Hill has been cleared to play.

Hill, who had surgery on his left hip on Jan. 23 that included removal of loose fragments, repair of a torn labrum and a microfracture procedure to repair damaged cartilage, was expected to be out for the season.

Instead, he has steadily progressed, participating in contact drills throughout the week with no setbacks. As such, the training staff cleared him for game action.

Whether or not he plays in Game 2 will be a coaching decision, but look for him to certainly see the court soon. Hill will most likely be used as a backup center/power forward, allowing Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol additional rest, while competing for minutes with Earl Clark.

Hill averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Lakers in 29 games.

Nash Optimistic For Game 1

Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemSteve Nash, who missed the final eight games of the regular season with hamstring/hip issues, went through a 5-on-5 halfcourt scrimmage with the team in advance of their opening round playoff series with San Antonio.

“Mentally, I’m chomping at the bit and physically I’m getting there,” he said. “I’m very optimistic I’ll be able to play on Sunday.”

Nash received an epidural injection on April 16, but admitted he is still not pain free. He has yet to sprint full speed, though, and acknowledged as much post practice.

“Not full out,” he explained. “I was able to play halfcourt today, and there were a couple situations where it was pretty close to a sprint, so it’s coming. In some ways, I want to give myself as much time as possible, but at the same time you can’t wait forever. Just trying to play that timing game, let the medicine work, (rely) on myself to heal and recover and at the same time, be prepared to play without blowing it out again.”

It’s been nearly three weeks since the 6-foot-3 point guard last played significant minutes in a game – at Milwaukee when coach Mike D’Antoni pulled him early in the second half. The following contest at Sacramento, Nash started but played just two minutes before exiting for good.

“There’s still a lot of movements to work through,” Nash said. “That’s going to take some time. Getting used to some of the pain, some of the inhibition and trying to work through it and get myself back to where I’m capable.”

With Nash injured, Steve Blake started all eight games in April, averaging 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists, while shooting 41 percent on 3’s. The last two home games against San Antonio and Houston, he posted a combined 47 points, 12 boards and 11 dimes.

“Steve has been phenomenal and filled in not only for myself, but for Kobe and for our depth,” Nash said of his backcourt partner. “He’s made a lot of shots for us. He’s a fighter. That’s such a valuable thing on your team.”

Should Nash be able to go on Sunday, D’Antoni stated “it’s a possibility” both him and Blake would start together in the backcourt.

“I’m just hoping to be able to play, get out there and contribute,” Nash explained. “That’s the bottom line. I’m just really hopeful and working hard – pretty much twice a day the last few weeks – to get back, and hopefully the time has come.”

Jordan Hill Injury Update

Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemLakers reserve big man Jordan Hill, who had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip on Jan. 23, has been cleared to start running on an Alter G treadmill at 70 percent of his body weight on Friday.

Hill was examined by Dr. Byrd – who performed the surgery – in Nashville over the past two days, where it was determined that he’s made enough progress to ramp up activities. If there are no setbacks, Hill will be allowed to get to 100 percent of his body weight on the treadmill, at which point he’ll be cleared for full weight-bearing running and jumping.

Subsequently, he’ll be allowed to begin on-court basketball drills.

The team has put a timeline of 3-4 weeks after that process before Hill would be ready to resume playing in games.

Hill averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for the Lakers in 29 games of action.

World Peace Poised to Return

Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemIn a surprise development, Metta World Peace is set to return early from March 28 knee surgery, with the potential to play in Tuesday night’s game against New Orleans.

After running on a treadmill, World Peace played 3-on-3 with teammates at Monday’s practice, leaving Mike D’Antoni to say that MWP was “80 or 90 percent” going to see the court against the Hornets. World Peace agreed.

“It’s not about how strong I am playing tomorrow night,” said World Peace. “It’s about how strong I was playing three games ago … I was ready to play.”

If World Peace has no swelling or negative response to his activity on Monday, he will be cleared to play on Tuesday, cutting his expected rehabilitation time of six weeks in half.

That original timeline would have had MWP out until early May. However, according to team spokesman John Black, there was no swelling in the knee after surgery, and its the swelling that typically keeps players on the shelf.

World Peace said that doctors “were amazed at how the swelling didn’t even exist.” Rookie Robert Sacre called MWP “Megatron … a machine,” and even Kobe Bryant – of course known to play through injuries – made note.

“It’s still extremely impressive,” Bryant said after relaying that he’s not surprised given World’s penchant for taking care of himself. “I call him Logan now. He’s Wolverine … Honestly, you have to be really disciplined and take care of yourself from the beginning. It’s one thing to have an injury and then try to catch up. But when you’re already there and already taking care of yourself, it makes recovery that much faster.”

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles ClippersL.A. can certainly use a boost on the wing, as Bryant has been playing nearly 48 minutes a night since Steve Nash went out early at Sacramento on March 30. The Lakers have no room for error, trailing Utah by a half game with five to play, needing to lose at least one fewer game than the tiebreaker-holding Jazz. What can MWP bring back to his team?

“A huge spark,” said Bryant. “Defensively, he’s tenacious and he brings a certain level of physicality that can really (impact) a game.”

World Peace, who has averaged 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.70 steals in 70 games (64 starts) this season, leads the Lakers in individual plus/minus on the season.

Injury Update: Steve Nash

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemSteve Nash missed a third straight practice as he continues to heal from a hamstring/hip injury.

Nash has been absent from the lineup for nearly three games because of a strained hamstring/hip strain. He played the first two minutes at Sacramento before having to exit.

When asked about his status for Sunday’s game, coach Mike D’Antoni said: “I don’t think he’s going to go tomorrow. We’re shooting for Tuesday hopefully.”

Steve Blake started against Dallas and Memphis, and received the bulk of the minutes at Sacramento once Nash went down. In his last three games, Blake is averaging 10.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists, while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from the 3-point line.

Kobe Bryant has carried a heavier load more recently, playing in nearly 45 minutes a game during this stretch. He posted 24 points, nine assists and five boards in 42 minutes against Memphis, after playing all but 79 seconds in the previous two games. The 16-year veteran is averaging 22.0 points, 11.3 assists and 8.3 rebounds over his last three.

Injury Update: Metta World Peace

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemLess than one week removed from surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus, Metta World Peace answered questions from assembled media members on Wednesday afternoon at the Lakers practice facility.

“Dr. Lombardo did a great job; Dr. Kharrazi did a great job,” World Peace said. “Outside the meniscus tear, they said the knee looks good for a person who has played 14 years in the NBA. That was encouraging. Virtually no wear and tear, and things like that.”

World Peace hurt the knee during the Lakers last road trip at Golden State. The Lakers starting small forward played 19 first-half minutes, but did not play in the second half – a game L.A. lost 109-103.

“At first I didn’t know what it was,” he explained. “All of a sudden you can’t walk and you can’t run. I’m like: ‘Something’s wrong here.’ I went into the locker room and told Gary (Vitti).”

The St. John’s product recalls how the injury occurred, on an offensive play when he tried establishing post position on Golden State’s Harrison Barnes.

“I was posting up in the second quarter and my foot kind of went out and my knee kind of went in,” World Peace elaborated. “(Barnes) grabbed me and moved out the way a little with a little push, so all that momentum took me down.”

Prior to the injury, World Peace had played in 69 of 70 games, missing one due to suspension at Brooklyn in early February. The original timetable for his recovery is a minimum of six weeks, but he allowed the recovery has gone smoothly thus far now that he is able to walk without the use of crutches.

“After the surgery, they want you to put pressure on it and see how you feel to feel the difference,” World Peace explained. “Then you get on the crutches right after that. I was on the crutches for a couple days, but it gets better. Every half day, it improves. I’m very encouraged.”

Bryant and Nash Injury Update

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemFrom Lakers PR:

Kobe Bryant received treatment on his foot and ankle today and his status for tomorrow is probable. Steve Nash also received treatment today and his status for tomorrow is questionable.

MRI Shows Meniscus Tear for MWP

Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando MagicLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemBelow is an injury update on Metta World Peace from the Lakers PR staff:

Lakers forward Metta World Peace, who injured his left knee in last night’s game against the Golden State Warriors, had an MRI exam today in Minneapolis. Results of the MRI showed a lateral meniscus tear. He will return to Los Angeles where he will be examined tomorrow by team doctor Steve Lombardo. An update, including a time table for his return, will be issued at the conclusion of his examination.

Injury Update: Metta World Peace

Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemAfter playing nearly 19 of the 24 first half minutes in L.A.’s Monday night loss at Golden State, Metta World Peace didn’t return in the second half after straining his left knee.

In the locker room following the third straight Lakers defeat, World Peace said that the pain and discomfort had subsided, but since he “couldn’t really walk” at halftime, he stayed in the training room to see if a return was possible. When it was determined that he wouldn’t go back onto the court, MWP joined his teammates on the bench in the fourth quarter.

World Peace said he wasn’t sure whether he’d be available for Wednesday’s game at Minnesota; the team will re-examine his knee upon arrival in Minneapolis on Tuesday afternoon.