The pomp and circumstance of opening night has yet to begin, and here we are, right back to the middle of the miserable 2013-2014 campaign.
The injury bug has again hit the Los Angeles Lakers, coming back with a vengeance that would make Montezuma crap his pants. Before the giant white curtains have even fallen and the video reel is still unedited, we’re looking at a Los Angeles Lakers team ravaged by injury. Here’s the run down thus far:
- Xavier Henry is still having problems with his troublesome right knee, which has kept him out of training camp entirely. He’ll miss the rest of the preseason, and perhaps the beginning of the regular season, as he will go to Germany to get the same treatment on his knee that helped rejuvenate Kobe Bryant several years back. It is not certain when Henry will return.
- Ryan Kelly has been sidelined with a sore right hamstring for much of the preseason, though apparently his left hamstring is also giving him problems. It’s not certain when Kelly will return.
- Steve Nash tweaked his back once again, this time from a source much less lethal than Damian Lillard’s knee: bags. Lifting bags. Nash has been injured in one way or another for most of his tenure as a Laker, and it already feels like this year will be no different. It is not certain when Nash will return.
- Jeremy Lin has tweaked both ankles in training camp and has missed the last two preseason contests. Without Steve Nash, the team has been largely relying on a rotation of Ronnie Price and whoever else can dribble the ball at the point. It is not certain when Lin will return.
- Nick Young has already been sidelined for several weeks with a torn ligament in his right hand, a injury that will keep him sidelined until late November at the earliest.
- Jordan Clarkson has been sidelined a week with a strained left calf, leaving the team razor thin at the point. It is not certain when…what? He’ll be back on Tuesday? Sweet!
Of course, some of these injuries are more severe than the others. In regard to Lin, Clarkson and Kelly, these may just be various, unfortunately timed nicks and bruises. However, for Nash, Young and Henry, these could very well be injuries that sideline them for an extended period of time and even worse, linger once they’re back on the court.
I’ve read some narratives proclaiming that the injury-bug has hit the Lakers (already) for a third season in a row. That’s not an entirely unfair statement. The team’s eroding record the previous two seasons has largely been a result of Kobe’s legs, Dwight’s back, Pau’s knees and Nash’s everything breaking down at a prodigious pace.
I’ve also heard fans say that it’s far too early to write off this team, especially seeing as these injuries are impacting the preseason–a.k.a. the part of the year where wins and losses couldn’t matter less. This too, is not an entirely unfair statement. Perhaps Henry, Nash and Young’s injuries aren’t too severe. Maybe it’s just a creaky knee, a tweaked back and hand surgery that will sideline Swaggy for a few weeks of the regular season.
However, these storylines are distracting from the real fatal flaw of the team that’s not the injuries. In fact, the injuries are what has exposed what could be the failing point of this Lakers team.
There’s just not enough talent, especially on a team that already looks so reliant on their oldest players.
(More at SS&R)