The injury bug continues to hamper the Los Angeles Lakers as an MRI exam on Kent Bazemore‘s right foot Monday revealed a torn peroneus longus tendon that will require season-ending surgery and force him to miss the last five games of the season, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Bazemore suffered the injury at the 10:03 mark in the second quarter after he felt a pop when he pivoted on his right foot. After the injury occurred he remained down on the floor for several moments before being helped up and sent to the locker room with team trainer Gary Vitti.
The 24-year-old was acquired by Los Angeles at February’s trade deadline in a deal with the Golden State Warriors which involved Bazemore and MarShon Brooks in exchange for Steve Blake. Since becoming a member of the Lakers, he has made the most of his opportunity to play as he has set career-highs in points (23), made field goals (nine), rebounds (seven), steals (six), assists (eight), and also made his first career start.
With the Warriors, Bazemore was rarely used as he was buried on the bench behind players such as Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, which didn’t allow him to display his skills to help the team. But with Los Angeles, the 24-year-old saw his minutes jump and his production as a result, as he’s averaged 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 28 minutes played in 23 games compared to his 6.1 minutes per game with Golden State.
“It’s an overuse injury,” Bazemore said on Sunday. “From going from playing six minutes to 35 minutes [per game]. It’s no one’s fault. It’s just the penalty for working hard, playing a lot of minutes. It just happens.”
Bazemore has had a past experience with foot injuries as he fractured his left foot prior to his senior year in the 2011-12 season at Old Dominion that resulted in a permanent screw being placed in his foot to help keep it stabilized.
In this upcoming offseason, Bazemore, like several of his teammates, will become a free agent and he could be retained by the Lakers if they make him a restricted free agent with a $1.1 million qualifying offer which allows them to match any deal put on the table by another team. It appears likely that Los Angeles will bring back the second-year guard as he has impressed the organization on and off the court since being acquired.
“He is the best,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said prior to Friday’s 107-95 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. “He comes in to film session with the young guys and is there every day asking questions and doing (what he has to do). When he plays, watch him, his activity is off the charts sometimes its in the wrong play or wrong thing but that’s what happens to young guys.”
“This has been for him a very lucky (situation) that he got traded here where he can play. He has had an opportunity here and he is making the most of it.”
After the loss, Bazemore also commented on his pending free agency as he was focused on finishing the remainder of the season strong.
I think that’ll take care of itself as long as you play a winning style of basketball,” Bazemore said. “The record doesn’t show the type of character that guy shave in this locker room. A lot of guys are making championship effort or game-winning effort plays and I think that stuff will handle itself.”
“Every guy works hard every day, so it’s up to the front office to pick the team. I have no control over it. All I can do is go out there and play hard.”
With Bazemore out for the final stretch of the season, it will be interesting to see how the Lakers play out the games with an undermanned roster as the team is down to just seven healthy players for Tuesday’s contest against the Houston Rockets.
The list of injured players includes two out for the season in Kobe Bryant (knee) Xavier Henry (wrist), and Pau Gasol (vertigo) out for at least Tuesday’s tilt. As for Jordan Farmar ( right groin), Nick Young (knee), and Steve Nash (back) they are all listed as questionable for the game and Chris Kaman (right calf) is considered doubtful to play.
Injuries have plagued the Lakers all season long and for them to be occurring once again comes as no surprise.
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