EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Steve Blake will be out at least six weeks with a torn ligament in his right elbow, leaving the Los Angeles Lakers without all three of their injured point guards.
Blake was hurt Nov. 26 in Washington, but kept playing until the Lakers’ team doctors diagnosed the tear this week. He has been starting in the absence of Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar, averaging 9.8 points and 7.7 assists in a strong season.
“It’s still a little bit in shock right now that I’m having another injury and having to sit out,” Blake said Thursday before the Lakers’ flight to Oklahoma City to open a four-game trip. “I was really enjoying the way things were going, so it is tough.”
Blake’s injured ligament is typically repaired by the so-called Tommy John surgery in baseball players. Blake said he won’t have surgery, but will attempt to return this season with rest and platelet-rich plasma injections.
Blake played 39 minutes against Phoenix on Tuesday night, finishing with nine points and 10 assists. He has logged heavy minutes without Nash, who has been out since Nov. 10 with nerve root irritation, and Farmar, who tore his left hamstring Dec. 1.
“Three (point guards), you would think, would be plenty enough to get you through the year,” Blake said. “For all of us to be out at the same time is pretty rare, I think.”
Kobe Bryant, who just returned two games ago from an eight-month absence with a torn Achilles tendon, will fill in at point guard alongside Jodie Meeks. The Lakers (10-11) have fallen back below .500 after losing three of their last four, including both games with Bryant, who expressed wonder at Blake’s ability to play so long with the injury.
“We just got Kobe back, so I was looking forward to trying to get us all on the court and figuring things out,” Blake said. “The one thing is, I will be back before the season is over, and I hope to finish the year strong, help us get into the playoffs and go from there.”
The Lakers didn’t immediately sign another point guard to take pressure off Bryant and Meeks, but they’ll likely play at least two weeks before Farmar returns. The two-time NBA champion was having a strong comeback season in his native Los Angeles, averaging 9.2 points and 4.4 assists as a backup, before getting hurt in a game against Portland.
The 39-year-old Nash has given little indication his condition is improving despite constant rehabilitation work. The two-time MVP will rehab in Vancouver while the Lakers are on the road.
Injuries are nothing new for Blake, who missed more than two months of last season with a torn abdominal muscle that required surgery in December 2012, allowing him to play in just 45 games. He also missed a chunk of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season with torn cartilage in his ribs.
“You feel sorry for him,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s worked so hard and played so hard. It’s a testament to his courage and toughness that he played about four or five games with a torn ligament in his elbow for shooting. He practiced left-handed, and then he would play right-handed. I hate it for him, but we’ve got enough players here. We’ll just have to close ranks and get it done.”
Blake’s injury was announced Thursday by the Lakers, whose three point guards are all injured.
Blake was hurt Nov. 26 in a game at Washington, but kept playing with the injury. The Lakers’ team doctors diagnosed the tear in an examination Wednesday.
Blake said he won’t have surgery, but will attempt to return this season with platelet-rich plasma injections.
The Lakers also are without point guards Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar. Nash has been out since Nov. 10 with nerve root irritation, and Farmar has been out since Dec. 1 with a torn left hamstring.
Jodie Meeks and Kobe Bryant will fill in at point guard.