A four-day All-Star break essentially gave the Lakers time both to forget and heal what’s mostly plagued them this season.
But the Lakers only have one definitive return in guard Jodie Meeks, who participated in all of Tuesday’s practice after nursing a sprained right ankle that kept him out for the past five games.
“It’s great. It feels good to be back. I had a chance to rest my body and mind,” said Meeks, who has averaged a career-high 14.4 points on 44.9 percent shooting in 32.6 minutes per game. “The break did me some good. I was playing a lot of minutes. Now I can focus on the games.”
Others aren’t as lucky.
The Lakers have definitely penciled out Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), Nick Young (fractured left knee), Steve Nash (nerve irritation in left hamstring) and Xavier Henry (right knee), all of whom didn’t practice at all. Bryant still has soreness and swelling in his left knee and remains confined to exercises on a stationary bike. The Lakers will reevaluate Henry on Friday. Nash still has dealt with nerve irritation in his back that kept him out of the Lakers’ game Thursday against Oklahoma City. He has played in only 10 games and averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 assists in 22.t minutes.
“He couldn’t get over the hump in a little of everything and he got hurt again,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of Nash. “There’s no reason to push him. So we’re going to go slow and see where it is.”
The Lakers have considered Pau Gasol (strained right groin) a game-time decision, though he participated in a full practice. Before missing the past six games, Gasol has averaged 17 points on 46.9 percent shooting and 10.2 rebounds.
“Everything felt pretty good, but I didn’t try to push it too hard,” said Gasol, who will determine his availability after Wednesday’s morning shootaround. “I wanted to get a good feel and get through practice without discomfort.”
The Lakers also considered Jordan Farmar (torn left hamstring) doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Houston Rockets, though he also practiced without restrictions. He has sat out the past four games after experiencing tightness in his hamstring and calf muscles in the Lakers’ win Feb. 5 in Cleveland where he played 21 minutes. Though he has averaged 9.3 points and 4.9 assists, Farmar has missed a combined 26 games because of recurring pain in his hamstring.
“When you have fatigue, that’s when the most risk for reinjury occurs,” said Farmar, who spent most of the All-Star break with his family. “We’re working together on this thing and see how I feel and take it from there one day at a time. I’ll feel I can be out there very soon. There’s not much you can do for it besides doing running and conditioning to build the endurance side of it. I just tried to enjoy time with my family. This has been just as tough mentally as it has physically, so I’m trying to get my mind right and do whatever I can to get out there and help.”
The Lakers (18-35) could use all the help they can entering Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets (36-17) at Staples Center. They are tied for last with the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference.
“It’s our job to be the spoiler for a lot of times,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll try to do that.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org