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All eyes on Kobe Bryant's return, but who's at point?

LAKERS FYI

Kobe Bryant might play Friday, but another key issue is at point guard. Jordan Farmar's out a month; Steve Blake, Steve Nash are iffy.

December 02, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Steve Blake ended Sunday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers with an ice pack on his right elbow. If he is unable to play Tuesday, the Lakers could be forced to start Xavier Henry or Jodie Meeks at the point guard position.
Steve Blake ended Sunday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers… (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images )

All the talk centers on Kobe Bryant's possible return to game action Friday.

But who is the Lakers' point guard that night against Sacramento?

Steve Nash hasn't played since Nov. 10, Steve Blake ended Sunday's game with a large ice bag wrapped around his hyperextended right elbow and Monday the Lakers said that Jordan Farmar is out for four weeks because of a tear in his left hamstring.

Uh-oh.

The Lakers were desperate enough to put Xavier Henry at the point Sunday in a competitive 114-108 loss to Portland. Jodie Meeks, who is not a good ballhandler, also took some turns moving the Lakers' offense.

"We had to go with 'X' at the point . . . or without a point and just play," Coach Mike D'Antoni said afterward.

The Lakers will take a wait-and-see approach with Blake and Nash, their fingers firmly crossed that the latter looks good in practice this week.

Nash spent last week on rehabilitation assignment with his personal trainer in Vancouver, Canada. He has played only six games this season and wasn't effective (6.7 points, 4.8 assists a game). In fact, D'Antoni said Nash might be brought off the bench upon his return.

The Lakers have an open roster spot after waiving forward Elias Harris last week but won't make a move toward a free agent yet.

Two former Lakers guards are available: Darius Morris was recently cut by Philadelphia, and Chris Duhon played for the Lakers last season with eroding skills that ultimately led the team to waive him over the summer.

Bryant has played a little point guard in the past, but that was before an eight-month layoff from a torn Achilles' tendon.

Blake has been solid this season, averaging 10 points and a team-high 7.7 assists, but he shot left-handed in the team's Sunday morning shoot-around because his elbow hurt so badly. He finished Sunday's game with 13 points and nine assists.

He looks like the best bet at point for Friday's game. . . assuming he feels OK.

The loss of Farmar is relatively significant. He is averaging 9.2 points and 4.4 assists in his return tour with the Lakers, and was even better in recent games until pulling up lame while running after playing only 56 seconds against Portland.

Farmar's diagnosis came after an ultrasound exam Monday.

The Lakers did not practice Monday but scheduled three consecutive days of practice beginning Tuesday.

Gasol has mild sprain

Pau Gasol underwent an MRI exam Monday that confirmed a mild right ankle sprain.

Gasol had only six points and five rebounds Sunday, matching the total of little-known Portland reserve Joel Freeland.

Gasol made only three of 15 shots, bringing his shooting percentage this season down to 41.9%, versus his career average of 51.5% from the field.

He was one of three starters who didn't play in the fourth quarter as the Lakers almost erased a 20-point deficit, getting to within one in the final minutes.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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