Lakers’ Jordan Hill returning to L.A. for further evaluation on strained quad

Lakers' Jordan Hill is wrapped by by Suns P.J Tucker during first period action  at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Lakers’ Jordan Hill is wrapped by by Suns P.J Tucker during first period action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

NEW YORK — The Lakers have painfully discovered only two things certain in the 2014-15 NBA season: losses and injuries.

Lakers forward Jordan Hill became the latest victim. After experiencing minimal improvement in a strained right quadricep muscle that limited him in Sunday’s loss here to the New York Knicks, Hill will travel to Los Angeles on Tuesday morning so team doctors can further evaluate him.

The Lakers (13-15) do not play until Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks (25-22) at BMO Harris Bradley Center, leaving Hill with a chance to return without missing a game. But Hill predicated on Sunday night that he could sit out anywhere between a couple of days to a couple of weeks. The Lakers estimate they will not know about Hill’s condition until Tuesday evening, likely after their scheduled practice in Milwaukee.

Hill played for just over seven minutes in the Lakers’ 92-80 loss on Sunday to the New York Knicks before feeling discomfort in his right hip and groin area. He walked gingerly to the locker room. Afterwards, Hill looked uncomfortable moving as he sat by his locker.

Hill had averaged 12.8 points on 47.7 percent shooting and 8.1 rebounds in 28.4 minutes all as a starter, mostly at center. In the past five games, Hill since shifted to power forward, while Robert Sacre started at center.

Hill’s vacancy could push Carlos Boozer back into the starting lineup. He has averaged 12.3 points on 52.8 percent shooting seven rebounds in 45 games, including 28 as a reserve. Lakers backup center Tarik Black will also likely receive more playing time, though Lakers coach Byron Scott had sat him in four of the past six games after spraining his right ankle on Jan. 19 in Phoenix.

The Lakers have become plagued with injuries all season, most notably season-ending ailments to Kobe Bryant (right shoulder), Steve Nash (back), Julius Randle (right leg) and Xavier Henry (left Achilles tendon.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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New York’s Derek Fisher valued Byron Scott’s mentorship his rookie season

New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher will face his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher will face his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Kobe Bryant often traces his strong partnership with Lakers coach Byron Scott to when he mentored him his rookie year during the 1995-96 season. That also applies to New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher.

“B. Scott was willing to be open and share what it takes to be successful in this business,” said Fisher, whom the Lakers drafted at the University of Arkansas with the 26th overall pick. “He took his training seriously and body seriously and came to work. That was great to have my first year. We had a ton of young guys including myself that didn’t know anything about the NBA. Byron was willing to teach us a lot. For me, it helped.”

After all, Scott spent 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Showtime Lakers where he won three NBA championships. Fisher eventually played 13 of his 18 NBA seasons with the Lakers where he won all five of his NBA titles.

“He had the same type of makeup as Kobe,” Scott said in regards to Fisher’s curiosity about NBA history and his practice regiment. “I love Fish. He’s an unbelievable person and probably played in the league a whole lot longer than a lot of people expected.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young upset over sitting in 92-80 loss to Knicks

Nick Young reacts to seeing the crowd around teammate Kobe Bryant on media day in El Segundo, Calif., on Sep. 29, 2014. The Lakers open their season on Oct. 29 against the Houston Rockets. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images file)

Nick Young reacts to seeing the crowd around teammate Kobe Bryant on media day in El Segundo, Calif., on Sep. 29, 2014. The Lakers open their season on Oct. 29 against the Houston Rockets. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images file)

NEW YORK — The itinerary seemed set for Nick Young on how he would spend his time in the Big Apple.

He would sport Kobe Bryant’s “Kobe X’s” Nike shoes that won’t release to the general public until Feb. 6. Young would live up to Bryant’s message, as Lakers equipment manager Carlos Maples told it, “not to embarrass his a– with his new shoe when the Lakers visited the New York Knicks on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Then, Young would enjoy the Lakers’ off-day on Monday in New York City shopping to add to his “Swaggy P” wardrobe.

But Young’s plans have gotten off to a bad start. Young did not play in the Lakers’ 92-80 loss on Sunday to the Knicks at MSG officially listed as a coach’s decision. Lakers coach Byron Scott revealed beforehand that Young received clearance to play after nursing a sprained right ankle that kept him out for the last two games. But Scott wanted Young to complete a full practice to show that his ankle could withstand the running and hard cutting.

Yet, Young still called it “very disappointing” he did not play.

“It’s very tough, especially coming back and wanting to play in the Garden and be a part of the team,” Young said. “You’re disappointed in not playing.”
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Jordan Hill leaves Lakers-Knicks game with strained right quad

"Los Angeles Lakers' Jordan Hill smiles before the Lakers' NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)"

“Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Hill smiles before the Lakers’ NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)”

NEW YORK — Lakers forward Jordan Hill lasted just over seven minutes on Sunday against New York before straining his right quad muscle.

Hill walked gingerly to the locker room favoring the area around his right hip and groin after posting two points and five rebounds. The Lakers will evaluate him on Monday.

The Lakers (13-34) have become plagued with injuries all season, most notably season-ending ailments to Kobe Bryant (right shoulder), Steve Nash (back), Julius Randle (right leg) and Xavier Henry (left Achilles tendon.

Nick Young received clearance to play on Sunday against New York after sitting out the past two games because of a sprained right ankle. But Lakers coach Byron Scott said it is unlikely Young will play until he completes a full practice. Scott offered the same analysis on backup center Tarik Black after recently nursing a sprained right ankle. But he might play considering Hill’s absence.

Hill has averaged 12.8 points on 47.7 percent shooting and 8.1 rebounds in 28.4 minutes all as a starter, mostly at center. In the past five games, Hill has since shifted to power forward, while Robert Sacre has started at center.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Knicks’ Derek Fisher, Carmelo Anthony confident about Kobe Bryant’s return

Lakers star Kobe Bryant has been declared out for the rest of the season after having surgery Wednesday to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. (File photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers star Kobe Bryant has been declared out for the rest of the season after having surgery Wednesday to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. (File photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

NEW YORK — The pain both Carmelo Anthony and Derek Fisher felt could hardly match the physical strain Kobe Bryant faced when he tore a right rotator cuff in his right shoulder nearly two weeks ago.

But the Knicks’ head coach (Fisher) and Knicks’ star player (Anthony) both conveyed how an injury to their longtime friend struck them. Fisher revealed he took Bryant’s injury “personal” considering they won all of their five NBA championships together with the Lakers. Anthony conceded Bryant’s injury “was tough on me” as the Knicks’ star is already dealing with a sore left knee that leaves him hopeful to play when the Lakers (13-34) play the New York Knicks (9-38) on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

“I know how hard he works and he did work to get back from the Achilles,” Anthony said. “He worked even harder to get back from the knee. And now the shoulder surgery…”
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Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins to replace Kobe Bryant in 2015 NBA All-Star game

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) drives against New Orleans Pelicans guard Nate Wolters, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) drives against New Orleans Pelicans guard Nate Wolters, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

With Lakers guard Kobe Bryant out for the rest of the 2014-15 season because of a surgically repaired right shoulder, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver named Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins as his replacement.

This will mark Cousins’ first NBA All-Star appearance after ranking fifth in the NBA in scoring (23.8 points per game) and third in rebounding (12.3 rebounds). The league noted in a release that Cousins represents one of six players to average at least 23 points and 12 rebounds in a season, including David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Kevin Love.

Cousins may have filled Bryant’s vacant spot. But Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who will coach the Western Conference All-Stars, will determine who replaces Bryant as the starting lineup for the All-Star game on Feb. 15 in Madison Square Garden.

Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, who earned the right to coach the West squad because the Warriors clinched the best record in the conference through games played Feb. 1, will determine who replaces Bryant in the starting lineup.

The 64th NBA All-Star Game will tip off Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden. The game will be seen by fans in 215 countries and territories and will be heard in 47 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 13th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 30th year of NBA All-Star coverage.

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Lakers’ Byron Scott argues fans should give Pau Gasol a “standing ovation”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Mitch Kupchak said Steve Nash has taken on mentorship role

Lakers' Steve Nash, right, passes off the ball as Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Pauldefends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)

Lakers’ Steve Nash, right, passes off the ball as Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Pauldefends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)

His presence does not seem as striking as when Steve Nash once threw no-look passes and ran pick-and-roll sequences to near perfection. But Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said on Wednesday that the Lakers’ injured 40-year-old point guard has been “around” in mentoring the team’s younger players.

After the Lakers ruled Nash out for the 2014-15 season because of persistent pain in his back, Kupchak also said he has had “multiple meetings ” with Nash, including breakfast about once a month.

“He will work with some of our players. He may have already started doing that,” Kupchak said. “He’s not going to go out and advertise he’s doing it. But he’s helping the younger players. As the season progresses, he’ll be more engaged.”
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Lakers’ Mitch Kupchak believes Kobe Bryant returns, has “no regrets” over extension

Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak during a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center, El Segundo Calif., Friday, April 18, 2014. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak during a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center, El Segundo Calif., Friday, April 18, 2014. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Amid all the question marks surrounding Kobe Bryant’s recent right shoulder injury and what would mark his third major rehabilitation for three consecutive years, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak sounded adamant on at least two things.

Bryant will return for the 2015-16 season to finish out the last year of his contract worth $25 million.

“I don’t think he’s retiring,” said Kupchak who spoke with Bryant on Thursday morning. “He said he’s looking forward to training camp. That’s what we expect.”

Kupchak also said he feels “100 percent” convinced the Lakers made the right decision in signing Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million extension on Nov., 2013. Telling words considering Bryant tore his left Achilles tendon eight months earlier and then suffered a season-ending left knee injury a month later after playing only six games. In his 19th NBA season, Bryant averaged 22.3 points albeit on a career-low 37.3 percent shooting in 35 games before tearing his right rotator cuff in his right shoulder, an ailment Kupchak described as a “devastating injury.”

“We have no regrets at all,” Kupchak said on Bryant’s extension. “Because he is worth every penny of it.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young to miss game against Chicago Bulls

"Lakers' Nick Young fouls Portland's Wesley Matthews during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, January 11, 2015.  Portland defeated the Lakers 106-94. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) "

“Lakers’ Nick Young fouls Portland’s Wesley Matthews during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, January 11, 2015. Portland defeated the Lakers 106-94. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) “

Lakers forward Nick Young will sit out Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bulls (30-17) at Staples Center after missing the previous contest because of a sprained right ankle.

Young sprained his right ankle during Monday’s practice, an injury that caused him to sit out Tuesday’s loss to Washington and run only on a treadmill during Wednesday’s practice. But Young will travel with the Lakers for their four-game trip beginning in New York on Sunday.

Before his injury, Young went scoreless on two field-goal attempts in only nine minutes in Sunday’s loss after Scott disliked his body language and overall effort.

Young has averaged 14.1 points per game, but he has shot at only a 37.3 percent clip.

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Lakers’ Byron Scott argues fans should give Pau Gasol a “standing ovation”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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TWC SportsNet panel previews Pau Gasol’s return

Former Lakers center Pau Gasol returns to Staples Center with his new team, the Chicago Bulls, for the first time Thursday. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Former Lakers center Pau Gasol returns to Staples Center with his new team, the Chicago Bulls, for the first time Thursday. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Plenty of emotions swirl around the Lakers these days, and they do not just involve frustration over persistent losing and Kobe Bryant’s season-ending right shoulder injury.

Anticipation and sentimental emotions await for when Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol will play against the Lakers (12-24) tonight at Staples Center for the first time since leaving this offseason through free agency. Gasol already met against the Lakers on Christmas Day in Chicago, posting 23 points and 13 rebounds in a 113-93 win over his former team. But the circumstances in this game are different.

Time Warner Cable’s Access SportsNet where host Jaime Maggio, analyst Dave Miller and I preview Gasol’s return and outline what kind of reception he will receive after helping the Lakers to two NBA championships in 2009 and 2010.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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