As if it weren't challenge enough incorporating a high-usage superstar back into the offense on his way back from serious injury, the entirety of the Lakers' point guard rotation is now sidelined with ailments of their own. According to a release from the team, Steve Blake -- Los Angeles' starter and primary playmaker in the absence of Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar -- is set to miss the next six weeks at the least with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Blake suffered the injury in a game against the Wizards more than two weeks ago, but had been playing through the pain of what was originally diagnosed as a hyperextended elbow. The tear was only discovered upon further examination and an MRI.
At Lakers practice on Thursday, Blake reacted to the news of the injury's severity and his upcoming absence (via @LakersTV):
What's more unfortunate: Blake was off to a strong start for the Lakers, doing everything he could to keep Mike D'Antoni's offense humming. He had averaged a team-high 31.9 minutes per game while posting the highest assist marks of his career, and converted 40 percent of his three-point tries as the endpoint of L.A.'s impressive ball movement. Blake was a needed support as Kobe Bryant worked his way back into a playing rhythm, but his absence will now leave Bryant to play out of position for the foreseeable as the Lakers' point guard. With Blake, Nash, and Farmar all sidelined, that leaves just four Lakers on the roster (Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, and Robert Sacre) with whom Bryant has any previous playing experience and a glaring lack of ball handlers beyond Bryant.