Archives For injury

After Jordan Clarkson left Thursday’s game with a shoulder injury, it was easy to think the worst. While he said he thought the injury was “minor” he also noted there was a sharp pain and intimated his shoulder had popped out. Further, his head coach was saying Clarkson might not play in the season opener which was, at the time, still nearly a week away.

Thankfully Clarkson’s MRI came back normal and he was said to be “day to day” with a “sore” shoulder. That first bit of good news settled everyone down, but today’s news is even better.

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When Kobe Bryant left Tuesday’s loss against the Kings with a “lower left leg contusion”, Byron Scott noted he was not concerned and him not returning to the game was precautionary. Kobe proceeded to miss Thursday’s practice and, still, Byron was not concerned. Kobe did some light shooting on Friday, but really did not practice, is still sore, and there’s still swelling. Byron is not concerned, but with a game on Saturday, well, you know the drill.

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D’Angelo Russell challenged a dunk attempt by the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert early in the Lakers’ second preseason game and hasn’t played since. Marcelo Huertas strained his hamstring before the Lakers even played a preseason game and has yet to see any game action. The good news is that both are nearing returns to the floor. The bad news is that it may not be in Sunday’s contest against Maccabi Haifa.

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Earlier in the week it was D’Angelo Russell’s foot which limited him in practice. We have also recently learned that Metta World Peace has been dealing with a calf issue which kept him out of a couple of practices too. Now, for Saturday’s session, it’s two rookies who are banged up and sitting out:

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As is his norm, Byron Scott has been putting the Lakers through rigorous training camps in these opening days. The first practice of camp when over three hours while days two and three both offered two workouts each. The team seems to be responding well, drawing praise from Scott after all the sessions for their “spirit” and competitiveness, but it nonetheless can get grueling.

Part of putting in this much work is that the nicks and bruises can start to take hold. D’Angelo Russell is finding this out after dealing with a “minor” (his words) bone bruise in his foot towards the end of Thursday’s first practice session. From Mike Trudell at Lakers.com:

Lakers No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell sat out the final few minutes of Thursday’s practice due to a bone bruise in his right foot, an injury he believes to be minor enough that he may play in the team’s second practice on Thursday evening.

“I feel fine,” Russell said. “It’s just a little bruise.”

The 19-year-old suggested that he needs to take better care to ice his foot, and hopes it’s just a small flare up due in part to all of the running the team’s been doing for the first three days of Byron Scott’s training camp.

“We’ll see how he feels later on tonight, see if he can go tonight,” said Scott. “And if not – if he has pain there – we’ll sit him down for precautionary reasons and we’ll get him ready for tomorrow. But right now he’s not ruled out for tonight’s practice.”

The Lakers are right to be cautious with Russell — they’re right to be with any player, really — who is just beginning his professional career. Even if he says he’s fine. After all, if he really is the gym rat he’s said to be, he’ll typically try to find his way onto the court. It’s important, then, that all sides be on the same page and, with Scott’s comments, it seems everyone is taking the proper approach here.

The good news, however, is that Russell does seem to be fine, especially if the standard is whether he returned to practice for Thursday night’s session:

Again, the Lakers can’t be too cautious with their prized rookie, but they also can’t treat him with kid gloves. If he says he’s pain free and the doctors check him out deem him good to go, getting out on the floor should be fine. The team will surely continue to monitor him and if any pain returns they can sit him down similar to how they did in the day’s earlier session.

The Lakers don’t have an injury bug, they have an injury parasite that eats away at their innards like a ravenous zombie in the Walking Dead.

After completing a basic two-handed dunk after a nice drive baseline in the third quarter of Wednesday’s loss to the Pelicans, Kobe ran up court with a bit of a grimace and held his right shoulder. He’d later return to the game, only to play almost exclusively with his left hand — even attempting some shots southpaw — exiting with a little over a minute left to play in the game. He headed straight to the locker room to receive treatment.

After the game, the Lakers said that Kobe would receive an MRI on the joint while Kobe himself almost blew off the injury entirely. He said he’d fly to San Antonio, get in his regular routine, and go from there. Well, it turns out it’s a bit more serious than that.

Per a report from ESPN, Kobe will fly back to Los Angeles today to see a team physician. After that an update will be given that, hopefully, reveals how severe the tear is and how long he might be out of action. Until then, wish good thoughts for Kobe. After all, the Lakers were bad with him playing and will continue to be bad without him. But I hate to see Kobe on the shelf again, injured, with real questions about recovery times and what this means for his basketball future pushed to the forefront another time.

The Lakers really can’t escape the injury bug this year. Steve Nash is out for the year with his recurring back/nerve root issues. Prized rookie Julius Randle is also out for the year with a broken leg. Ryan Kelly is on the shelf once again with his hamstring issues. And now, Xavier Henry may also be out for the year after hurting himself in a 3-on-3 drill in Monday’s practice. From the Lakers’ twitter account:

Byron Scott is hopeful it is not that serious, but at this point that likely is just hope. If Henry’s MRI confirms the tear he will not play again this season and the Lakers have suffered another blow to their already depleted roster.

Henry was re-signed this past summer with the hope that he could contribute to a wing rotation that, save for Jodie Meeks’ departure, was retained from last year. However, summer knee surgery and issues with his back had kept Henry out of training camp. And while he saw game action earlier than expected after going to Germany for regenokine treatment, he’d not yet found a consistent role on the team as he tried to work his back into playing form.

In the past couple of weeks Henry had played for the D-Fenders (the Lakers’ D-League affiliate) in the hopes of finding his rhythm and getting back into game shape, but now his season looks to be over.

As for what this means for the Lakers, they almost surely will now need to sign another wing if for no other reason than they need another body. Without Henry and with Kelly still injured, the Lakers’ only healthy perimeter players who can play either SG or SF are Kobe, Nick Young, Wes Johnson, and Jordan Clarkson. Lin could also be slotted into the SG spot, but considering the Lakers are also shallow at PG, they need another body regardless. The Lakers recently held a workout that involved former Nugget Quincy Miller, but no moves were immediately made. They may need to revisit those options now.

But those are the team logistics. Really, today’s news isn’t so much about that but instead about Henry. I truly feel bad for him as he’s worked extremely hard to try and get his career back on the track he was on when drafted with the #12 overall pick in 2010. That process really began in earnest last season when he had a nice season with the Lakers under Mike D’Antoni. The Lakers brought him back with the hopes that he’d continue his growth this year. Now, however, he’s likely out for the year, on an expiring minimum contract, and looking at one of the more grueling recoveries you can face in sports.

Hopefully he’s back as good as new next season. I will be rooting for him, that’s for sure.

I don’t think Steve Nash owes anyone any explanations about how hurt he is or what he’s going through physically. While an instagram video of him hitting balls at the driving range caused a stir, it’s only a certain type of irrationality that would equate hitting a golf ball to being able to play basketball in the NBA. Yet, after some loud criticism and questions about how healthy Nash really is have persisted, Nash took to his facebook page to explain what he is going through physically. Below is his full statement — one he called an “Open Letter to Lakers Fans” on twitter — from his page:

I definitely don’t want to be a distraction, but I felt it best everyone heard from me in my own words.

I have a ton of miles on my back. Three buldging disks (a tear in one), stenosis of the nerve route and spondylolisthesis. I suffer from sciatica and after games I often can’t sit in the car on the drive home, which has made for some interesting rides. Most nights I’m bothered by severe cramping in both calves while I sleep, a result of the same damn nerve routes, and the list goes on somewhat comically. That’s what you deserve for playing over 1,300 NBA games. By no means do I tell you this for sympathy – especially since I see these ailments as badges of honor – but maybe I can bring some clarity.

I’ve always been one of the hardest workers in the game and I say that at the risk of what it assumes. The past 2 years I’ve worked like a dog to not only overcome these setbacks but to find the form that could lift up and inspire the fans in LA as my last chapter. Obviously it’s been a disaster on both fronts but I’ve never worked harder, sacrificed more or faced such a difficult challenge mentally and emotionally.

I understand why some fans are disappointed. I haven’t been able to play a lot of games or at the level we all wanted. Unfortunately that’s a part of pro sports that happens every year on every team. I wish desperately it was different. I want to play more than anything in the world. I’ve lost an incredible amount of sleep over this disappointment.

Competitiveness, professionalism, naiveté and hope that at some point I’d turn a corner has kept me fighting to get back. As our legendary trainer Gary Vitti, who is a close friend, told me, ‘You’re the last to know’ – and my back has shown me the forecast over the past 18-20 months. To ignore it any longer is irresponsible. But that doesn’t mean that life stops.

This may be hard for people to understand unless you’ve played NBA basketball, but there is an incredible difference between this game and swinging a golf club, hiking, even hitting a tennis ball or playing basketball at the park. Fortunately those other activities aren’t debilitating, but playing an NBA game usually puts me out a couple of weeks. Once you’re asked to accelerate and decelerate with Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving it is a completely different demand.

I’m doing what I’ve always done which is share a bit of my off-court life in the same way everyone else does. Going forward I hope we all can refocus our energies on getting behind these Lakers. This team will be back and Staples will be rocking.

When news of Nash needing to miss the season came out, I wrote about how fans are entitled to be disappointed in Nash’s Lakers’ tenure, but we should never lose sight of the fact that no one is more disappointed than Nash himself. He was the one putting in the work to try and return, the one whose body was failing him, who suffered a setback every time it looked like he might have turned a corner. To find out now that he has the types of ailments he has — ailments that, seemingly, could affect the quality of his life moving forward — it seems even more silly to try and take Nash to task for not being able to compete in the NBA for the team we root for.

Injuries happen. They suck and are a disappointment to everyone involved. For the team paying the salary, the fans who want to see this player on the court, and the player who wants nothing more than to compete with his teammates. For Nash, the Lakers, and their fans things didn’t go the way anyone would have wanted. And while I don’t think he needed to write what he wrote to explain things to fans (or anyone else) who questioned him, I am glad that he did set the record straight.