Due to injury, Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers watches from the bench as his teammates take on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 20, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers woke up in Southern California for the first time in nearly two weeks. Returning home from a less-than-stellar road trip, the Lakers immediately got in line for a series of doctors’ visits, reminding fans that the team has doctors' notes excusing their poor play.
Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake and Xavier Henry were all expected to see doctors on Monday. Farmar is out with a torn hamstring, Blake has a freak elbow injury and Henry is out with a strained knee. Farmar and Blake are scheduled to have tests that help verify progress, while Henry is scheduled for an MRI to better understand why the explosive guard continues to experience soreness nearly a month after he initially suffered the injury. Henry was originally only expected to only miss 7-10 days with the injury.
On Tuesday, Kobe Bryant will visit his doctor hoping for good news. Bryant suffered a fracture in his knee six games after returning from a torn Achilles. To this point, Bryant has been limited to exercising on a bike, and when speaking with reporters on Sunday, the 35-year-old expressed his desperation to expand his workouts as soon as possible.
Steve Nash will not need to see a doctor, as his return from a nerve issue in his neck does not require further clearance. Nash did not travel with the Lakers on their most recent road trip. Instead, he flew to Vancouver and underwent training sessions designed to better help the ageing point guard return to the floor as soon as possible.
Nash should reunite with the team, return to practice and hopefully return to game action this week. His return is predicated on his ability to physically endure the rigors of the game.
Depending on how soon these guards are able to return, the Lakers will likely part ways with Manny Harris. Harris was impressive in the Lakers’ loss against the New York Knicks, as the aggressive shooting guard racked up 18 points.
However, if Farmar, Bryant, Blake, Henry and Nash are able to return prior to Harris’ second 10-day contract expiring, the Lakers would have eight guards on the roster—not counting Harris. The Lakers currently have Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Harris and Nick Young healthy in the back court.
Nine guards on a 15-man roster would not make sense, even if Harris’ play does not deserve to be waived.
Marshall was originally signed onto a 10-day contract as an emergency insurance policy when the series of injuries began to hit. Since that point, the former North Carolina Tar-Heel has assumed starting point guard duties, as no other healthy point guards have been available. With the Lakers already permanently assuming one extra guard, Harris' future with the team would appear to be in doubt.
On the injury front, the Lakers have an immensely important week ahead.