Lakers G Steve Blake out 6 weeks with elbow woes

Steve Blake will be out at least six weeks with a torn ligament

in his right elbow, leaving the Los Angeles Lakers without all

three of their injured point guards.

Blake was hurt Nov. 26 in Washington, but kept playing until the

Lakers’ team doctors diagnosed the tear this week. He has been

starting in the absence of Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar, averaging

9.8 points and 7.7 assists in a strong season.

”It’s still a little bit in shock right now that I’m having

another injury and having to sit out,” Blake said Thursday before

the Lakers’ flight to Oklahoma City to open a four-game trip. ”I

was really enjoying the way things were going, so it is

tough.”

Blake’s injured ligament is typically repaired by the so-called

Tommy John surgery in baseball players. Blake said he won’t have

surgery, but will attempt to return this season with rest and

platelet-rich plasma injections.

Blake played 39 minutes against Phoenix on Tuesday night,

finishing with nine points and 10 assists. He has logged heavy

minutes without Nash, who has been out since Nov. 10 with nerve

root irritation, and Farmar, who tore his left hamstring Dec.

1.

”Three (point guards), you would think, would be plenty enough

to get you through the year,” Blake said. ”For all of us to be

out at the same time is pretty rare, I think.”

Kobe Bryant, who just returned two games ago from an eight-month

absence with a torn Achilles tendon, will fill in at point guard

alongside Jodie Meeks. The Lakers (10-11) have fallen back below

.500 after losing three of their last four, including both games

with Bryant, who expressed wonder at Blake’s ability to play so

long with the injury.

”We just got Kobe back, so I was looking forward to trying to

get us all on the court and figuring things out,” Blake said.

”The one thing is, I will be back before the season is over, and I

hope to finish the year strong, help us get into the playoffs and

go from there.”

The Lakers didn’t immediately sign another point guard to take

pressure off Bryant and Meeks, but they’ll likely play at least two

weeks before Farmar returns. The two-time NBA champion was having a

strong comeback season in his native Los Angeles, averaging 9.2

points and 4.4 assists as a backup, before getting hurt in a game

against Portland.

The 39-year-old Nash has given little indication his condition

is improving despite constant rehabilitation work. The two-time MVP

will rehab in Vancouver while the Lakers are on the road.

Injuries are nothing new for Blake, who missed more than two

months of last season with a torn abdominal muscle that required

surgery in December 2012, allowing him to play in just 45 games. He

also missed a chunk of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season with

torn cartilage in his ribs.

”You feel sorry for him,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said.

”He’s worked so hard and played so hard. It’s a testament to his

courage and toughness that he played about four or five games with

a torn ligament in his elbow for shooting. He practiced

left-handed, and then he would play right-handed. I hate it for

him, but we’ve got enough players here. We’ll just have to close

ranks and get it done.”