In what seems like one fell swoop, the NBA landscape has had a dramatic overhaul, due to an incredible spate of injuries over only a couple of days.
The Lakers have battled much of the season to overcome injuries to a handful of key players, but none to the core of the team. They overcame a few weeks without Jordan Farmar, and a handful of games with out Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza, and Kobe has played through injuries. The Clippers, of course, have had to play much of the season without the heart of their team, including weeks and months without Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph, Baron Davis, Ricky Davis, and Marcus Camby, plus time missed by the likes of Mardy Collins and Mike Taylor.
But now, these feelings are shared by much of the league’s elite, with the high-flying Orlando Magic losing star point guard Jameer Nelson perhaps for the season, with New Orleans losing MVP candidate Chris Paul with an injury that may or may not keep him out for a length of time, but that could be a nagging problem for the rest of the season, and of course the Lakers will now be without Andrew Bynum for maybe three months.
New Orleans is not an elite team without Chris Paul, and having him at less than full strength, or not at all, could well keep them from the playoffs in the tough, tough West. Nelson means as much to the Magic, but with their record and in the mediocre East, they could coast at sub-.500 the rest of the season and still make the playoffs, and hope that Nelson could possibly be back by then.
Paul is listed as “Day-to-Day”. Whenever I hear that, I think back to the 1983 baseball season, when Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia was injured in the first week of April, and listed as “Day-to-Day”, he never played another game the rest of the season.
The Lakers, however, have super depth, and proved last year they could get pretty far without Bynum. Plus this year, they have an underrated and finally fairly health Chris Mihm to play some of those minutes, and I see the Lakers getting by just fine, with Bynum returning in time to get back in game shape before the playoffs,