On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers lost Metta World Peace to knee surgery that will keep him out at least the next six weeks, if his team’s season lasts that long.
That same day somebody asked Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni if this was the most injury-cursed season he has ever experienced.
“Pretty much,” said D’Antoni, who was hired in November less than two weeks after undergoing knee surgery. “You know, I’ve never been injured with them, so that’s a first time. It’s a lot, but it happens.”
He should walk in Rick Adelman’s shoes for a season.
D’Antoni’s team has persevered despite injuries to stars Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and now Mr. Peace, but none of it compares in duration or abundance to the season Adelman’s Wolves have endured.
“Everybody’s having it,” said Adelman, who has coached only nine healthy players many nights. “They’ve had a few themselves.”
The Wolves long ago watched their playoff hopes disappear because of their injuries, while the Lakers cling to the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, a game ahead of slumping Utah and surging Dallas.
“It happens, every team it happens to,” D’Antoni said. “Just look at Minnesota and they’re just getting their guys back now and not all of them. You just fight through it. That’s how the NBA is. Nobody cares, the other teams don’t care. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, just regroup and fight on.”
World Peace’s torn lateral meniscus — discovered during a MRI taken Tuesday in Minneapolis — meant guard Jodie Meeks moved into the Lakers’ starting lineup Wednesday alongside Nash in the backcourt while Bryant played a small-forward role in which he defended Andrei Kirilenko some.
That also meant Wolves guard Luke Ridnour, at 6-2, didn’t have to guard 6-7, 260-pound World Peace as he did earlier this season — instead of covering Bryant.
Wishing and hoping
Wolves forward Kevin Love expects to have his healing right shooting hand imaged again before the week is over.
The results will be sent to his New York surgeon to see if the fracture of two bones has healed enough to allow him to play some or all of the season’s remaining three weeks.
“I’d like to see him play,” Adelman said. “You’d like to see our guys get on the court together. It helps us as far as moving forward.”
Free and easy
Before Wednesday’s game, D’Antoni praised the Wolves — as opposing coaches always do — and their recent play, saying they’re playing “loose,” and he meant it in a good way.