The Los Angeles Lakers entered the season facing plenty of questions with Dwight Howard now in Houston and Kobe Bryant attempting to recover from a torn Achilles.
Bryant’s injury was the largest cloud hovering over the Lakers’ potential success prior to the season, but has since been overshadowed by the myriad of point guard injuries.
Dating back to the 2012-2013 season, the Laker point guard position has been nothing short of a curse.
In just his second regular season game with the Lakers, Steve Nash was kicked in the shin, which caused a break in the bone. Nash missed seven weeks and struggled to regain form throughout the season as he battled hamstring and back injuries, some of which was a byproduct of his leg injury.
Roughly two weeks later, Steve Blake aggravated a lower abdominal strain he had been playing with. That injury, coupled with a sore groin, caused Blake to miss over two month’s wort of action.
Fast forward to the 2013-2014 season, and the injury bug has continued to ravish the Laker point guards.
All three true point guards on the roster — Blake, Jordan Farmar, and Nash have missed time due to injury. Xavier Henry, who was forced into spot play as the floor general, suffered a right knee injury in the deflating home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
An MRI on Dec. 30 revealed Henry had a bone bruise and an abnormality in the meniscus.
Farmar suffered a left hamstring injury on Dec. 1, which caused him to miss slightly over three weeks. He returned on Christmas Day, but had to leave the Dec. 31 game early due to hamstring tightness.
An ultrasound revealed Farmar had suffered another tear in the hamstring, although at a different location, and he is expected to be out a minimum of four weeks.
Dealing with lingering nerve damage as a result from his broken leg, Nash managed to appear in six of the eight games he was active for, before being shutdown. The date of his return remains in question.
In Nash’s absence Blake was averaging 9.8 points per game and 7.7 assists per game, and had nine double-digit assists games. He was arguably having his best season since joining the Lakers in 2010.
Blake’s good fortune came to an end on Dec. 12 when he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Although Blake likened the injury to that which would require Tommy John surgery for a baseball player and a lengthy road to recovery, he managed to play in six games, unaware of the tear. The initial timetable for Blake’s return is six weeks.
With the rash of injuries, enters Kendall Marshall.
Marshall was signed to a multi-year contract by the Lakers on Dec. 20 as a means of adding depth to the roster. Suddenly, he finds himself as the starting point guard — for better or for worse.
Jodie Meeks will serve as the backup point guard by default. Well aware of the injuries the point guards have suffered, Meeks joked after practice on Thursday that he prefers to be called a “decision-maker.”
With the injuries continuing to pile up, the focus of the Lakers’ season has essentially shifted from trying to be a surprise team, to focusing on the future.