By Ben Golliver
The Lakers announced that reserve forward Jordan Hill is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to repair loose fragments and a possible labral tear in his left hip.
The extent of his injury was revealed during an arthrogram on Friday. The Lakers noted that Hill is "expected to get a second opinion" on the injury before he proceeds with surgery. Hill injured his hip during a Jan. 6 loss to the Nuggets and has been sidelined for the Lakers' three most recent games, all losses.
Hill, 25, was averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game off the bench this season. The Knicks' 2009 first-round pick was traded to the Rockets in Feb. 2010, who in turn traded him to the Lakers in Mar. 2012 in the deal that sent Derek Fisher to Houston. Hill re-signed with the Lakers in July, inking a a two-year guaranteed contract worth $7.1 million.
Hill's specialty was offensive rebounding and energy. His absence makes life even more difficult for coach Mike D'Antoni, who is currently without starting center Dwight Howard, sidelined with a shoulder injury, and starting forward Pau Gasol, who suffered a concussion when he took an elbow to the face against the Nuggets. D'Antoni has been forced to start rookie center Robert Sacre and seldom-used Earl Clark in the absence of his big men. The only other currently available power forward or center on the roster is Antawn Jamison.
The Lakers' roster currently stands at 14 players after Darius Johnson-Odom was waived last week, giving GM Mitch Kupchak one available roster spot to work with. Los Angeles is 15-21, good for 11th in the Western Conference. They are currently on a six-game losing streak, but Lakers VP Jim Buss said this week that it's still not time to panic. Be sure to check out this SI roundtable on what's next for the Lakers.