The Los Angeles Lakers have been struck again by the injury bug. This time, the injuries piled up and have depleted their front court.
To begin the season, point guard Steve Nash missed the majority of the first two months of the season with a fracture in his leg suffered in the teams first game.
Currently in midsts of a three game losing skid, the Lakers got hit hard by the injury bug with the announcement of Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill’s injuries. Howard, who had back surgery last May to fix a herniated disk, has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and was seen with the shoulder heavily wrapped after the teams loss on Sunday night at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers are reporting Howard will miss one week and will then be re-evaluated.
Gasol, who missed eight games at the beginning of December with tendinitis in both knees, took an inadvertent elbow from Nuggets center Javale McGee late in the teams game on Sunday night. Gasol was forced to leave the game due to excessive bleeding from his nose. The team announced Gasol had been diagnosed with a concussion and is out indefinitely.
To be able to return, Gasol will have to be cleared by the NBA hired neurologist after going through a steady increase in basketball related activities.
Adding to the depletion of their front court, reserve forward/center Jordan Hill has been ruled out for the teams two game road trip this week. Hill, dealing with a hip injury, has been in and out of the Lakers line up this season with back and ankle injuries. The back injury cost Hill three games in December, all wins for the team.
With games against the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder all scheduled for this week, the Lakers injury woes could not have come at a worse time. In the absence of Howard, Hill and Gasol, look for rookie Robert Sacre, veteran Antwan Jamison, and second and third year men Devin Ebanks and Earl Clark to see an increase in playing time.
Also of note, before today’s 5 PM eastern time the Lakers waived rookie guard Darius Johnson-Odom. With Johnson-Odom’s release, the Lakers roster sits at 14 players. With the depleted front court and uncertainty of the return of all three, the Lakers could look to sign a free agent big man.