(My latest from Silver Screen & Roll)
In early January, the Los Angeles Lakers went through an almost unthinkable wave of injuries. Within a two-game span, the team’s entire big man rotation crumbled with a laundry list of various maladies; Dwight Howard with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Pau Gasol with a brutal concussion after an errant JaVale McGee elbow and reserve Jordan Hill with a torn labrum in his left hip. At the time, it was frankly implausible that this could happen all at once. The Lakers had already been snake bitten all season long, with Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Gasol missing huge chunks of games with various injuries. The thought of one star going down was devastating enough–but a coach’s entire front court getting hurt? All in a 48-hour period? Ridiculous.
And then it happened again.
During Game 2 in the opening round of the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs, Mike D’Antoni’s back court rotation cratered with various physical problems. In addition to Kobe Bryant (ruptured left Achilles tendon) and Jodie Meeks (sprained left ankle) being on the shelf in the past week, Steve Blake strained his hamstring, while Steve Nash aggravated an already painful nerve irritation affecting his back, hip and hamstring. Blake has already been ruled out for tonight’s game, while Nash and Meeks are listed as doubtful. It appears that much like that fateful 48 hour period in early January, what remains of an already fragile Lakers guards corps has gone down in 3 short days.
The odds of this happening once, let alone twice is of course, astronomical. With the exception of Antawn Jamison (who has been playing through a painful tear in his right wrist) and Earl Clark (who only began to play during the aforementioned January apocalypse on any man 6’11” and above), every single Lakers rotation player has missed time with injury, almost all of them serious health concerns. To punch the point home, let’s go to the tape:
Steve Nash: Missed 32 games (Hip/back/hamstring: 8 games, fractured right fibula: 24 games)
Steve Blake: Missed 37 games (Torn abdominal muscle: 37 games, strained right hamstring: 0 games, but out for tonight’s game)
Pau Gasol: Missed 33 games (Tendinitis both knees: 8 games, concussion: 5 games, right plantar fascia tear: 20 games)
Jordan Hill: Missed 53 games (Torn labrum/damaged cartilage left hip: 53 games)
Dwight Howard: Missed 6 games (Torn labrum right shoulder: 6 games)
Metta World Peace: Missed 6 games (Right torn meniscus: 6 games)
Kobe Bryant: Missed 6 games (Left ankle sprain: 2 games, ruptured left Achilles tendon: 4 games)
Jodie Meeks: Missed 0 games (Left ankle sprain: 0 games, but expected to miss tonight’s contest)
(Read on after the jump)