LOS ANGELES -- With 10 of the team's 15 games coming on the road, January figures to be difficult for the Los Angeles Lakers. But there might be a silver lining at the end of the month in the form of a future Hall of Fame backcourt returning to the fold.
Coach Mike D'Antoni said after shootaround in preparation for Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers that Kobe Bryant
(fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee) and Steve Nash
(nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings) will be re-evaluated Jan. 27, when the Lakers return to L.A. after an upcoming 12-day, seven-game trip.
If they are cleared, the veteran guards could play shortly thereafter. Nash has been out since Nov. 10, and Bryant has been sidelined since Dec. 17.
D'Antoni recently joked that a bus will show up at the team's practice facility in February and drop off the five currently injured Lakers players, all healthy and ready to contribute. But it turns out the players' returns will be staggered.
D'Antoni said that, on Monday, Xavier Henry
(bone bruise in his right knee) will be the first of the group to be examined.
"He could possibly play on this road trip or he could be out the rest of the season," D'Antoni told ESPNLA 710 radio Friday. "So, it's like one or the other."
(torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow) will be re-evaluated around the same time as Bryant and Nash, according to D'Antoni. Before returning to game action, Blake would need seven to 10 days to rehabilitate and strengthen his elbow, which has been stabilized in a protective brace.
(left hamstring tear) practiced form shooting this week but won't be back until "sometime in February," according to D'Antoni.
"I think a lot of the injuries, we had them all the time, except with MRIs they diagnose them a little bit better [now]," D'Antoni told reporters Friday. "You played with them [in the past] and you didn't know you had them. But now you got them and you're out four weeks."