Injury woes striking a familiar tune with Los Angeles Lakers

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “With all the guys we have hurt, you know Kobe. He’ll try to take it upon himself as much as possible,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “We want to try to keep it as little as possible and not have all the scoring load be on his back.”It appeared that would be a tough task before Sunday’s game. Lakers forward Ryan Kelly experienced soreness in his right hamstring on the final drill of Sunday’s morning shootaround, the same day he hoped to return from a strained left hamstring that kept him out of the Lakers’ four previous exhibitions. After having offseason surgery on his right knee, Lakers forward Xavier Henry will travel to New York City for a second opinion and then to Dusseldorf, Germany to undergo Regenokine treatment. Nick Young will stay sidelined for at least another month while healing his surgically repaired right thumb. No one ever knows how Steve Nash’s chronically hurt back will shape up. And perhaps Jordan Clarkson (strained left calf muscle) and Jeremy Lin (sprained left ankle) will return soon. So what can the Lakers do?“It’s got to be by committee,” Scott said. “I can’t necessarily look at one guy and say, ‘We need you to go out there and do this for us.’” A fluctuating roster and a coaching change have not removed an odor that has left the Lakers with an unpleasant residue.The Lakers are already dealing with a revolving door of injuries that spark reminders of last season’s nightmare that ended with the team’s worst record in L.A. franchise history. During that stretch, players missed a combined 319 games because of health. It seems hard to make this up, but the Lakers’ injury bug has already bitten six players and left them with uncertain return dates. Yet, somehow it did not matter in the Lakers’ 98-91 preseason victory on Sunday against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center, improving the team’s preseason record to 2-3 and snapping the team’s three consecutive losses in exhibition play. The Lakers, of course, depended on Kobe Bryant, his 26 points on 7-of-22 shooting and 9-of-11 clip from the foul line in 31 minutes marking his latest progression after playing in only six games last season because of overlapping injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee. This happened a day after Bryant threw down a one-handed dunk in practice. But the Lakers also fueled a third-quarter rally, outscoring Utah’s second unit 31-18, with a heavy dose of contributions from veteran forward Carlos Boozer (19 points), training camp invitee Wayne Ellington (nine points), rookie forward Julius Randle (eight points) and versatile swingman Wesley Johnson (eight points). For only the second time in five exhibitions, the Lakers also held an opponent under 100 points.center_img Scott plans to play Bryant in the Lakers’ three remaining preseason games this week to build rhythm heading into the 2014-15 season opener Oct. 28. Scott believes Clarkson will return either Tuesday against Phoenix at Staples Center or Wednesday against Portland in Ontario. Scott added Lin’s possible return on Tuesday hinges on if he can participate in a full-contact scrimmage Monday that includes cutting and changing direction without having additional strain on his left ankle.The Lakers have also delayed making the first round of cuts to their training camp roster, the lone exception to Jeremy Tyler so he could sign a contract to play in China. “You got to be a little concerned, especially with the guys we have out,” Scott said. “We expected them to be players we could depend on. It’s a little concerning.”But not concerning enough for the Lakers to prove they can absorb some of those absences. last_img

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