LA Lakers: Steve Blake All but Concedes Backup PG Spot in Latest Incident
Between chicken pox, death threats and a spike-strip parking-lot incident, Steve Blake's Lakers career has been anything but smooth since joining the team in 2010.
The Lakers announced on Monday that Blake punctured his left foot (via ESPN) after stepping on a spike strip, and that the nine-year veteran will miss three weeks of impact exercises.
Blake is facing a prolonged recovery period to heal his foot, followed by rehab and light training to ease the Lakers PG back into shape.
Training camp begins in one week.
Besides the awful timing of Blake's latest freak injury (let's not forget the chicken pox or the rib injury where he couldn't breathe), the most unfortunate aspect to this foot-on-rake—nay, spike—incident, has to be the inevitable reset of any progress Blake made throughout the Lakers' stretch run last year.
Hitting a last minute three-pointer in Game 4 of the Lakers vs. Nuggets series and becoming a more comfortable playmaker at the end of games, Blake was a dependable source for minutes in the team's backcourt during the 2012 playoffs.
The door is now wide open for Chris Duhon and Darius Morris to back up Steve Nash when the regular season begins October 30—a critical component to Mike Brown's player rotations.
With a 38-year-old point guard in Nash, Mike Brown was surely relying on Blake to spell the two-time MVP and limit Nash to around 30 minutes per game.
Last season, Nash averaged 31-and-a-half minutes per contest with Phoenix while Blake averaged 23 minutes for the Lakers.
Now, with an uncertain return date for his primary PG backup, Mike Brown's attention turns squarely to an eight-year veteran with underdeveloped playmaking skills, and a raw second-year gym rat who is still learning the NBA game.
Add this to the minute shuffling Brown must facilitate to accommodate Dwight Howard's recovery from back surgery, and we're staring at a veritable roster carousel to start the season.
It took Blake a number of games to fully recover from his three-week rib injury back in January 2012, and he didn't truly find his groove until the final month of the season when he came off the bench for then-starter Ramon Sessions.
We don't know the extent of this latest injury, but we shouldn't be surprised if it again takes Blake three months from start to finish (recovery, rehab, playing into game shape) to get back to his old self.
Once more, training camp is one week away.
Lakers fans everywhere should be hoping Blake has a speedy recovery, but by the time he does return, Blake will find himself fourth in the PG pecking order behind Duhon and Morris and will face yet another uphill battle to find a rhythm that has eluded him for much of his Lakers career—a position he unfortunately knows all too well.
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