Injuries take toll on Lakers again
LOS ANGELES — It was just another one of those days in Lakerville.
As seconds ticked off of the clock in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 120-97 loss to the host Clippers at Staples Center, Nick Young sat on the bench with ice heavily wrapped around his left knee. Young says he "twisted" his knee in the third quarter, causing the Lakers training staff to come onto the court to check on him.
Just prior to taking a seat on the Lakers bench, Young had a towel covering his face in what was about as telling a sign there could be found with the Lakers this season. It spoke volumes.
"(That was for) a little bit of everything that’s going on," Young explained. "Pain, everybody getting hurt, just how the season has been frustrating, but at the end of the day we just got to keep our heads up and go out there and fight. "We can’t give up now. Even though we’re losing we still got to battle."
The Lakers guard was able to play through the injury and returned for a stretch in the final period.
The same couldn’t be said about Kent Bazemore, who sat two seats to the right of Young as he was icing his knee. Bazemore returned to the Lakers bench in team warm-ups for the first time since being evaluated in the Lakers locker room for a sprained right foot suffered in the second quarter.
For Bazemore it was a flashback to a Jones fracture suffered in his left foot during the summer before his senior season at Old Dominion.
"I heard a pop in it," said Bazemore who’s X-rays were negative but is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday. "It went to the brain, like shock — ‘oh no, not again’ so I just fell and cried a little bit."
When Bazemore left the game, the Lakers were left with just eight healthy bodies.
As expected, Steve Nash was unavailable after playing Friday night. Pau Gasol was still dealing with a recurrence of vertigo. A strained right groin kept Jordan Farmar out. A strained left calf was the injury for Chris Kaman. Xavier Henry and Kobe Bryant were inactive.
This was all against a Clippers team Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni admitted he wasn’t looking forward to facing. The assortment of injuries only made those fears worse as the Clippers handed the Lakers their franchise-record tying 52nd loss of the season. It was also the Lakers’ third straight defeat to the Clippers — totaling a combined 107 points.
Young, who came off of the bench to play 26 minutes on Sunday, is "beat up" according to D’Antoni. The Lakers head coach says Young probably would have been shut down for the season if the team had enough healthy bodies. Young, who has a player option for next season, says he wants to play in what could be the final five games of his Lakers career.
"(I’m) just gonna go out with the ship and just hang in there with them guys," Young said.