PHOENIX — Lakers forward Tarik Black slowly walked out of the trainer’s room, the crutches in his hand and the rolled tape on his right ankle suggesting a serious injury.
Still, x-rays turned out negative after Black sprained his right ankle that caused him to leave with five minutes remaining of the Lakers’ 115-100 loss on Monday to the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. But could Black return quickly enough to play in Wednesday’s game in New Orleans?
“I can’t comment on that one,” said Black, who posted six points on two-of-three shooting and three rebounds in 21 minutes. “I don’t know. But miracles can happen. I rolled it pretty good, though.”
How Black rolled his ankle appears unclear. It seemed as if he fell on a teammates’ foot, believed to be Nick Young. But the Lakers’ eccentric forward vehemently denied that when Black asked him after a reporter suggested the incident happened.
Young scoffed, “I wasn’t even in the vicinity.” A playful Black then answered, “You got beef, homey? We can go get it.” Young countered, “Think about it, I was shooting the ball in the corner.”
Young then repeatedly referred Black to John Coffey from The Green Mile and suggested he could heal quickly with special powers.
“Stop talking to me bro,” Black said, playfully. “Or we’re going to get into it.”
Still, this incident already sours a Lakers’ roster reeling with injuries. Kobe Bryant sat the eighth of the past 15 games to rest his 36-year-old body. He will complete light shooting drills in Tuesday’s practice in Phoenix with hopes to play on Wednesday in New Orleans. The playing status also remains unclear for Lakers guard Ronnie Price, who missed the past two games with persistent soreness in his right elbow.
As for Black, this sours a promising start where he has averaged eight points on 66.7 percent shooting and 5.7 rebounds in 17.7 minutes through six games. The Lakers picked up off of waivers after the Houston Rockets parted ways with the rookie center to make room for Josh Smith.
“I don’t put pressure on myself,” Black said. “It happened. It is what it is. I can’t take it back. No point of worrying about it. I got to heal up, get better and get out there. My biggest thing is helping the team win.”
Black will nurse crutches to alleviate the pressure on his right ankle and prevent it from swelling. Black also downplayed the pain level. And he also expressed optimism in the Lakers’ training staff.
“It just hurt bad when it happened,” Black said. “But as far as the injury goes, I’ll be back soon. It’s just a matter of keeping the swelling down.”
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