Los Angeles Laker Wesley Johnson grabs a rebound against the Utah Jazz first half in the NBA preseason basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. (Photo by Sean Hiller/Daily News)
Lakers coach Byron Scott could only laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.
Lakers forward Wesley Johnson suffered a moderate strain to his left ankle that sidelined him for the second half of the Lakers’ 120-106 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at Staples Center after scoring 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting in 20 minutes. Scott expressed doubt Johnson would travel for Monday’s game in Sacramento, leaving the Lakers coach to chuckle over his contingency plans. And it just marked the latest string of injuries that have included Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Julius Randle, Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington, Ronnie Price and Xavier Henry.
“It’s just like, ‘What could happen next?’” Scott said. “But I don’t want to dare ask that question.”
Scott spoke too soon.
The Lakers soon learned that shooting guard Dwight Buycks would miss the final two games because of a fracture to his right hand. Incidentally, that took place on the last night of his 10-day contract and happened a few hours after Scott confirmed the Lakers would plan to keep him considering Lin’s season-ending left knee injury. Now the Lakers are left with eight healthy players and two point guards in Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown, leading Scott to chuckle on what his contingency plans might entail.
“I don’t have one right now, said Scott, who then suggested he would play either Ryan Kelly or Brown at the small forward spot. “Its going to be a weird lineup out there tomorrow night.”
The Lakers have fielded an often lot of weird lineups considering their players have sat a combined 324 games because of injuries, which both tops the leagues and surpasses last year’s mark at 319. Despite that never-ending development, Johnson had only missed four games because of minor ailments and a coach’s decision. He posted 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting against Dallas just before rolling his ankle at halftime. Johnson, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has averaged career-highs in points (9.9) and minutes played (29.5). But as he has for most of his five-year career, Johnson has shown some inconsistency.
“Wesley has been up and down,” Scott said. “But he’s been probably the most consistent guy we’ve had as far as going out there every night and you know what you’re going to get. He had nights where he didn’t shoot the ball well and had nights he shot extremely well. Hes had some inconsistency, but the effort wise would be the same.”
As for Buycks, he had averaged 8.7 points on 45 percent shooting and 2.3 assists in 20.5 minutes through six games off the bench.
“He’s got good poise,” Scott said of Buycks. “He handles the ball pretty well, can run the offense and can make outside shots. I just want to see a little bit more.”
Scott will not have that opportunity, leaving him with dwindling options as an injury-riddled season draws to a close.
“It’s just one of those things where you shake your head,” Scott said. “Hopefully we have seven to eight guys healthy for the next two games and we can finish it out.”
Lakers’ Jeremy Lin ruled out for the season
Lakers’ Byron Scott praises Carlos Boozer’s professionalism amid reduced role
Former Laker Jamaal Wilkes believes rebuilding “will take a couple years”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at email@example.com