MINNEAPOLIS — It took nearly three months before the Lakers finally fielded some healthy point guards.
It took less than a quarter to lose more critical pieces.
On the same day Steve Nash and Steve Blake returned to the lineup, the Lakers’ 109-99 loss Tuesday to the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center featured some more bizarre injuries.
Guard Jodie Meeks left nearly 90 seconds into the game because of a sprained right ankle. X-rays turned out negative, but the Lakers rules him out tonight in Cleveland and Friday in Philadelphia. After accidentally bumping heads with Lakers center Chris Kaman, forward Jordan Hill headed toward the locker room with a headache and cervical strain. He will see a doctor today to ensure he didn’t receive a concussion. Hill didn’t talk to reporters but walked around the locker room clearly frazzled.
Meanwhile, Steve Blake’s first game since nursing a hyperextended right elbow for two months featured plenty of feistiness and playmaking, including six assists. But he also ruptured his right eardrum after colliding into Minnesota forward Dante Cunningham. Blake still will travel with the Lakers for today’s game in Cleveland and will see an ear, throat and nose specialist.
“It doesn’t hurt,” Blake said, “but everything sounds funny.”
The Lakers are hurting everywhere.
The Lakers are expected to miss Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee) and Pau Gasol (strained right groin) for at least another two weeks. Although Xavier Henry has traveled with the team, he won’t play on the remaining two-game trip because of a bone bruise in his right knee.
The Lakers are currently without Meeks, who had averaged 14.7 points and had scored in double figures in 22 of the last 23 games. The Lakers appear even more depleted in their frontline with Hill’s energy, though it’s possible he could still play tonight in Cleveland.
“Jodie’s a big part of this team and it’s sad to see him go out,” Blake said. “He’s playing really, really well for us. Jordan Hill has an opportunity with Pau being out and now who knows what his prognosis will be. I just feel for those guys. I just was in their position.”
Blake’s in a weird situation, too, with a ruptured eardrum. But he hardly sounded concerned on whether this could affect him.
“It’s not a big deal,” Blake said. “Maybe it will hurt. Who cares.”
The Lakers obviously do. They can’t afford to keep losing their players.
“If you step back and look at it, it stinks,” Blake said. “But for me, I have to focus on tomorrow. I can’t dwell on injuries, as bad as they are. I hate to see it happen, but I have a job to do.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org