Updates from Tuesday, Feb. 18
Jodie Meeks said his ankle feels pretty good; he'll play tomorrow vs. the Rockets.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 18, 2014
Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding received confirmation from the team:
Meeks: right ankle sprain, will not return tonight.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) February 5, 2014
After the game Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times provided an update:
X-rays were negative for Jodie Meeks, but he won't play the other two games this trip because of sprained ankle.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 5, 2014
Meeks sustained the injury just over a minute into the contest, when he came down on the foot of Timberwolves guard Corey Brewer's foot, awkwardly twisting his ankle. Obviously in pain, coach Mike D'Antoni called a quick timeout to sub Meeks out for Nick Young at the 10:33 mark in the first quarter.
The severity of the injury beyond the next two games is unclear at this time. Ruling him out so swiftly indicates there has to be some level of concern, as teams sometimes keep players with minor sprains in the game to keep their ankles "loose."
Meeks' early exit comes in a contest in which the injury-riddled Lakers were finally starting to get some good news. Steve Nash and Steve Blake returned to the starting lineup on Tuesday, the former for the first time since November and the latter being out since Dec. 10. Jordan Farmar is also due to return. With Kendall Marshall excelling and likely expecting continued playing time, D'Antoni's once depleted guard rotation suddenly looked robust.
A Meeks absence would theoretically un-muddy the guard rotation, but in practice, it will only hurt the Lakers' outside shooting. Meeks, who has oscillated between the 2 and 3 this season, is averaging 14.7 points per game on 45 percent shooting, including a 40.6 percent rate from distance.
"Meeks has been playing super," D'Antoni recently told ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "He's going to the basket, shooting. His defense is awesome. He just plays his rear off. He's turned into a real good basketball player."
The Lakers will especially miss Meeks' perimeter defense. Los Angeles has been hemorrhaging points defensively, and the 26-year-old guard is one of the only Lakers who consistently gives effort on that end. With neither Nash nor Blake giving much help, this is an absence an already floundering team can ill afford.
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