The Los Angeles Lakers got more bad news thrown on top of the mountain of disappointments that have piled on this season. It was reported by Lakers beat writer Mike Trudell on Tuesday that the left knee injury that Metta World Peace sustained in last nights’ loss to the Golden State Warriors was a lateral meniscus tear.
The amount of time that Metta World Peace will be out will not be known until after he is examined by team doctors tomorrow; however, taking into account the history of the injury with other NBA players, Metta is almost certainly out for the rest of the Lakers season, playoffs included.
Chase Budinger of the Minnesota Timberwolves also suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee back on November 10th. Chase didn’t see action until 4 months of recovery time later when he made his return on March 21st against the Sacramento Kings.
Gilbert Arenas suffered the same of injury to his left knee back in 2007 and required the entire off-season to recover from the injury. Arenas was never the same player or played more than 49 games in any season after the injury.
With Metta likely out for the year, who does Mike D’Antoni insert into Metta’s spot in the starting line up and does he insert a new player into his very tight rotation?
The likely candidate to replace Metta in the starting line up is Jodie Meeks who would line up at the shooting guard position and move Kobe Bryant over to the small forward position. Meeks will add a shooter to the perimeter from the outset of the game and hopefull improve the spacing for the two bigs, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Meeks has only started 2 games this season and averaged 7.5 points, 3 rebounds and shot 33% from the field in those games.
Earl Clark is another option to insert back into the starting line up. Earl was sent back to the bench after Pau Gasol’s return on Friday against the Washington Wizards. Earl’s offense dropped off after a scorching hot start when he first got promoted to the starting line up on January 11th. Earl’s athleticism, length and overall skill set makes him versatile to play both forward positions. In 33 games as a starter, Earl averaged 9.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and shot 44.5% from the field.
The forgotten Devin Ebanks is someone that might get additional playing time, but it is unlikely it would be anything more than nominal minutes and highly unlikely to be considered for the starting spot. Ebanks hasnt seen anything outside of garbage minutes since losing his short stint in the starting line up back on December 18th. In 3 games as a starter Ebanks averaged 3 points, 3 rebounds and just slightly over 17 minutes a game.
The Lakers will play their first game without Metta World Peace on Wednesday when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
– Fern Rea “@fullcourtfern” and “@rainingsdotcom”