The injuries just won’t stop piling up for the Los Angeles Lakers. As soon as Anthony Davis re-entered the lineup, LeBron James left it. Kendrick Nunn still hasn’t played this season. Only a few players have reliably remained in the lineup this season, and one of them just suffered an injury of his own.
Carmelo Anthony gave the Lakers seven quick points against the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday, but midway through the second quarter, he came up limping. Anthony quickly returned to the locker room, and the news didn’t get any better from there. Anthony was ruled out with a right hamstring strain soon after leaving the floor.
Anthony has appeared in 50 of the Lakers’ 53 games this season, trailing only Russell Westbrook on the season. Hamstring strains are tricky, though, especially in older players. While it remains to be seen exactly when Anthony will be able to return to the lineup, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports that there is “optimism” that the hamstring strain isn’t serious and that Anthony is expected to be considered day-to-day.
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Anthony is a player the Lakers simply cannot afford to be without. With James out and the 36-year-old Trevor Ariza proving largely unplayable, Anthony and Stanley Johnson were the only healthy forwards on the roster that were really contributing. With Anthony gone, the Lakers not only lose what precious little forward depth that they had, but one of their most consistent shooters. Anthony’s 38.9 3-point percentage trails only Malik Monk on the season.
The Lakers are used to making do without a fully healthy roster, but they can only sustain these absences for so long. They are below .500 with the trade deadline approaching. They’re going to need their full team at some point if they plan to make any sort of playoff run. Anthony is a major part of that team, and his health is critical moving forward.