Lakers center Dwight Howard dunks as Cleveland Cavaliers center Tyler… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
The Lakers were given a stacked deck for Week 11, taking on the high-scoring Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder without Dwight Howard (shoulder), Pau Gasol (concussion), Jordan Hill (hip) and Steve Blake (abdominal surgery). Predictably, it didn't go well.
Howard's shoulder injury was initially called a torn labrum. He later explained that the labrum wasn't torn but was "separated from the bone," which sounds awful but is actually the better scenario.
Gasol took multiple concussion tests throughout the week but wasn't cleared for the court under the league's stringent guidelines on such matters.
Hill's hip injury has proved to be serious. Surgery will take him out for the season, leaving him shocked and devastated.
With Hill going down, the Lakers could be eligible for a $1.78-million disabled-player exception. General Manager Mitch Kupchak comment: "We'll look into it."
Last week's games didn't go especially well for the Lakers.
Steve Nash recorded his 10,000th-career assist in Houston but the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 125-112. The Spurs held off a late charge and a big game from Earl Clark to win in San Antonio, 108-105. The Thunder pounded the Lakers, 116-101.
Howard was finally cleared to play Sunday night against Cleveland, and the Lakers ended their six-game losing streak with a 113-93 win over the Cavaliers.
The main problem for the Lakers this season? Their defense is offensive.
Lakers executive Jim Buss told local radio, "We're not going to panic," despite the team's dismal play. After giving support to Coach Mike D'Antoni, Gasol and the team's roster as a whole, Buss blamed most of the team's problems on bad luck with injuries.
Of course, the question is how much should Buss' words be trusted.
The Lakers waived rookie Darius Johnson-Odom, deciding to keep freshman center Robert Sacre. The team's roster stands at 14 players, one fewer than the league maximum.
Despite their difficulties, the Lakers remain in reach of a top-eight seed, but they need to start winning games regularly.
Off the court, Kobe Bryant and wife Vanessa announced that they've reconciled and are no longer pursuing a divorce.
A YouTube parody from BallerballFilms begged for a team to trade for Gasol.
Nash joined Magic Johnson and Chris Paul in an NBA ad featuring the Clippers point guard.
Finally, Bryant and Howard decided to have a little bit of fun, mocking the story that they nearly came to fisticuffs.
Dwight Howard back from shoulder injury
Jordan Hill shocked and devastated by hip injury
Lakers executive Jim Buss says "we're not going to panic"
Email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.