ATLANTA — The Lakers are about to add another player to their roster, and it doesn’t involve a trade.
Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar has steadily progressed in healing his strained left hamstring enough that he could return as early as Friday when the Lakers host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center…..if a few things work out in his favor.
Farmar plans to receive an ultra sound Wednesday when the Lakers return to Los Angeles from a four-game trip that ends tonight in Memphis at the Fed Ex Forum. Should the test show Farmar’s hamstring has healed enough as he’s thought it has, the Lakers’ guard will then practice Thursday. Should he complete that practice successfully, Farmar would then suit up for the Lakers-Timberwolves game.
The Lakers (11-13) feel the urgency in adding Farmar, who has missed the past six games and averaged a steady 9.2 points and 4.4 assists through 18 games. They rank 12th in the Western Conference. The Lakers have long-term injuries to Steve Nash (nerve issues in back) and Steve Blake (torn ligament in right elbow). With Kobe Bryant shedding rustiness stemmed from his injured left Achilles tendon that kept him sidelined for the past eight months, the Lakers’ star has averaged six turnovers per game in his five appearances. Farmar would likely start at point guard and slide Bryant to his natural position at point guard. That could leave either Jodie Meeks or Wesley Johnson out of the rotation.
But Farmar pledges he won’t return just for the sake of hoping to salvage the Lakers’ misfortunes.
“I’m getting close, but I’m not going to risk getting hurt again because that doesn’t help me or the team,” Farmar said following the Lakers’ 114-100 loss Monday to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. “If I have to miss more games than expected and if I feel I’m almost there, I won’t come back. But I’m excited. I’m feeling good.”
That’s because Farmar said he spent part of Monday’s morning shootaround and pre-game warmups completing shooting and running drills for the first time since injuring his left hamstring Dec. 1 in the Lakers’ loss to Portland at Staples Center.
Farmar said he also fit in weight-training exercises that strengthened his gluteal muscles to take pressure off of the hamstring. During the first two weeks of his rehab, Farmar mostly rested. His only activity involved light stationary shooting, biking and cardio drills.
“It’s a really tricky hamstring injury. I feel good, but if you try to go out and put it in third, fourth or fifth gear, that’s something you can’t simulate here and then you’re set back for another month,” Farmar said. “That’s what I don’t want to happen. I think the organization is with me in ensuring that when I come back, there will be no setbacks at least with this. I’m trying to get past this injury.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org