LA Lakers Injuries Will Allow Antawn Jamison to Prove His Worth to LA Lakers

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando is fouled by Antawn Jamison #4 of the Los Angeles Lakers as Metta World Peace #15 looks on during a 113-103 Magic win at Staples Center on December 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard will be out indefinitely, likely meaning a likely chance Antawn Jamison will return to action and have another chance to prove himself.

Howard is out for an undetermined amount of time with a torn labrum, while Gasol is sidelined with a concussion.

While Howard played through the sore shoulder that started to bother him after the Lakers game against the Los Angeles Clippers, it seems that it will be too much for him to deal with and, for the time being, will be out of action.

Gasol collided with JaVale McGee in Los Angeles' loss to Denver, leaving him with a nasty cut on his nose and a concussion. That mean's he'll be out until doctors clear him to return.

Even worse, their first big man off the bench, Jordan Hill, won't be traveling with them on their road trip due to a hip injury.

Los Angeles Lakers Injuries: Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol Out Indefinitely; Jordan Hill Out One Week wp.me/p1pm50-dy3

— CLNSRadio (@CLNSRadio) January 7, 2013

Basically, everything that they didn't need to go wrong all ended up going wrong at once. 

Not only will the Lakers have to rely more on stretching out their lineup and playing smaller, but they'll have to give more minutes to the likes of Darius Morris, Devin Ebanks, Robert Sacre (once he's called up from the D-League's D-Fenders), and play Metta World Peace at the power forward, and perhaps even the center spot at times.

Of course, the Lakers did just waive Darius Johnson-Odom, opening up a roster spot for either a free agent signing or a trade.

A few players on the free agent market could be viable candidates, as Chris Andersen, Kenyon Martin, or even a young prospect like Jarvis Varnado or Samardo Samuels.

For the time being, however, the biggest winner, and player shoved directly into the spotlight as a result of these injuries, is Antawn Jamison.

With Gasol, Howard and Hill all out, Jamison suddenly becomes Los Angeles' number one big(ish) man, which is interesting when you realize that he's played about eight minutes of the Lakers' games since the middle of December.

While coach Mike D'Antoni had benched Jamison, his reasons weren't all that bad. While Jamison was out as the Lakers figured out what the plan was with Gasol and Steve Nash in the game together, Jamison fell by the wayside. D'Antoni felt that sticking him in at the end of games would have been a disservice to his abilities.

D'Antoni said Antawn Jamison is too good a player to play garbage time. He could return to rotation at some point, but out of it right now.

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 29, 2012

Jamison's benching was in part due to his poor play, even though D'Antoni tried to play it off like they were unrelated.

The fact is Jamison had been underwhelming for most of the season. He did have a stretch of games in which he scored at least 10 points six out of seven games, topping out with 33 points and 12 rebounds against the Nuggets at the end of November.

While his 44 percent shooting from the field is adequate, he's shooting under 31 percent from beyond the arc and the area where he needs improvement.

This is Jamison's second chance. If he's able to show that he can produce and help the Lakers win while their big men are out, he's going to see a lot more playing time in the future.

If not, his days in Los Angeles may be limited.