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Luke Walton's return helps alleviate some of the injury pain

Lakers forward Luke Walton traveled with the team to Texas not expecting he'd be in the lineup. He had spent the previous week practicing and nearing full recovery from a pinched nerve in his lower back that ultimately kept him sidelined for all but nine games.

Instead of appearing on  "The Young and the Restless" or working at his Manhattan Beach restaurant, "Joey's Smokin' BBQ," Walton made the trip.

Talk about good timing.

He played in the Lakers' 105-85 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, a game that turned out to be much more than just their fourth consecutive road loss and their third defeat in the past four contests.

Kobe Bryant missed the fourth quarter because of back spasms, raising questions on whether his litany of other injuries (right index finger and right elbow among them) will get him an endorsement deal with Operation. No word on whether Pau Gasol (right hammy), Ron Artest (right index finger), Sasha Vujacic (right hamstring) and Adam Morrison (flu-like symptoms) will play the board game with Bryant .

Although Coach Phil Jackson had mentioned Walton helps with the team's flow of the triangle offense, Walton's statistical impact is marginal; he's averaging 3.7 points in 10.6 minutes in nine contests.

But from a pure numbers standpoint, Walton's return could be a very good thing for the Lakers. Filling in for a sick Morrison, Walton's six minutes Tuesday  coincided with the Lakers' rally from a 22-point third-quarter deficit. His four points and a steal helped the Lakers cut the deficit to six points with 5:38 remaining before the Spurs went on a 25-5 run.

In the video below, Walton makes some interesting comments about the nature of the Lakers' injuries and how it has impacted the production. Aside from the inevitable drop-off that happens with most injuries, the chemistry has also worsened -- because Mamba's monthlong hurt finger, Artest's Christmas night fall, LO's post-New Year's intestinal flu and Gasol's sore hammy on Jan. 3 all overlapped each other.

And on Tuesday, new injuries emerged with Bryant's back spasms, Artest's right index finger, Vujacic's right hammy and Morrison's flu, adding another layer of difficulty the Lakers must learn how to overcome.

-- Mark Medina

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Comments () | Archives (16)

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Something positive 'bout Luke Walton?

Oh man...pfunk's gonna be ticked....

#4 -hah i wouldn't say it's positive. look at the nuance of the story. my main argument is it's nice they have another body when everyone's getting hurt. and that's pretty much it

MM, haha, I was only being facetious. Pfunk's disdain for all things Luke is well-known to a couple of us. Its gotten so old and convoluted, its actually an endearing quality about him.

But I do certainly agree with your article, Luke couldn't have come at a better time, especially considering his particular position and body type allows him to play both the 3/4 position in times of need (like these).

Excellent post MM. Huge luke walton fan - because he "gets it" (rare), is a team basketball player (rare) with an extremely high basketball IQ (rare), and the team always plays better when he is out there (always). He can stabilize this second unit (mos def).

Hey, if a "Thank goodness Luke is back Bandwagon" starts to roll, I'm IN (line forms to the left ...).



I'd say it's a positive - not necessarily a glowing positive, but he did bring some energy defensvely when he came in for his burn. Better to have an extra body so we can hopefully create the energy we need from the bench.

What we have here is a peak to Dicken's Laker Future. Kobe, LO, Pau and Artest retired and the team handed to the Bynum. The future is bleak.

So Kurt over at Forum Blue & Gold steals my line from last night about activating Stu Lantz. LOL! Often imitated but NEVER duplicated. Haha.


This blog needs a glowing, upbeat and a nice long post on Bynum depicting him Tyrannosaurus rex the future center in the making. It will cheer up many of the down in the dump Hollywood laker fans.

Any volunteers or takers? #4?

Much Respect tot he oldbees

After watching Artest on the court these last few games I thought Luke looked like Lebron James. Amazing isn't it?


Hey MM

For the love of christ... a whole thread devoted to luke?!? I thought we were tight man

In case u missed the memo this blog is 99% luke lovin so that's a great way to suck up to the crowd and gain allegiance around here

U praised his 5 minute efforts but just know thats when luke shines the most.. In short 5 minute stints coming off a long injury.. The more minutes he plays the more counterproductive he gets... Once he gets his legs back his groove back his shot back and phil starts trusting him again with long and key minutes then the true luke will shine again.

And u can take that to the bank my man! Starting tonite in fact since I predict luke 25min...

Cali, I agree, its a positive.

To be honest, I was genuinely surprised that Luke played as well as he did (relative to his usual).

No worries fellas, I'm a Walton fan too.

Luke gave us 6 well played minutes last night. I expect 17- 20 quality minutes from Luke tonight.

Step it up Bench Mob!

What we have here is a peak to Dicken's Laker Future. Kobe, LO, Pau and Artest retired and the team handed to the Bynum. The future is bleak.

Posted by: p ang | January 13, 2010 at 04:22 PM

What does that even mean?

- I'm not a mathematician, but I would guess that Luke gets paid more money per minute played than any other Laker. Only about 15 more years left on his contract, yeehaaaa.

- Let's savor this rare moment when Luke will be on the floor, before he chips his next fingernail and misses another 6 months.

- If Luke is the answer to the bench woes, than this team is in deep deep trouble.

- If someone has no confidence in their shooting and is afraid to shoot, does that person pass because he has no choice but to pass or because he's a team player? hmmm.


The return of Luke Walton will only confirm what I have always believed . Luke belongs on the streets of San Francisco not on the wood of the Staples !

Why do people keep knocking Bynum...he has the potential to be the top center in the league. It makes no sense that all these people are on his back.
Even last night...the Lakers would of lost by 30 with out Bynum.



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