Michael Beasley Won't Return vs. Kings After Rib Injury Diagnosed as Contusion

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02:  Michael Beasley #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts as he dribbles during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on October 2, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers forward Michael Beasley suffered a right rib contusion Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings and was ruled out after playing 11 minutes, according to Lakers Nation. 

This is just the latest injury concern for Beasley, who has had to deal with knee ailments in each of the past couple of seasons. He also left the Lakers' preseason opener after just six minutes because of a head laceration. 

While he may not be living up to the billing of a No. 2 overall pick, Beasley has proved he can provide productive minutes. The 29-year-old, who is on his fifth team in five years, is coming off one of his better seasons.

As a New York Knick in 2017-18, the 6'9", 235-pound forward averaged 13.2 points on 50.7 percent shooting, including 39.5 percent from three-point range.

Los Angeles did its best to build a roster around prized free-agent signing LeBron James. ESPN's Chris Haynes reported that James respects Beasley's game, as the two were also teammates with the Miami Heat in 2013-14. That coupled with a bounce-back showing in New York last season led to a reunion in Hollywood.

As NBA.com's Joey Ramirez noted in October, Lakers coach Luke Walton has experimented with putting Beasley at the five in order to help the team space the floor. An effective small-ball lineup can be a difference-maker in the modern NBA, so if Beasley can give Los Angeles quality minutes at center, that's when the offense could fully realize its potential.

After a busy offseason, the Lakers have some depth at forward to get by without Beasley if necessary. James can play any position, and Brandon Ingram, Lance Stephenson, Kyle Kuzma and Moritz Wagner give Luke Walton options to mix and match at forward.

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