Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni does not think Metta World Peace will return… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )
Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni did not think Metta World Peace would return before the Lakers' regular season ended.
"I'm not optimistic only because it's only a couple of weeks [away] and it's bad enough to go get checked," D'Antoni said Wednesday.
World Peace is traveling back to Los Angeles on Wednesday to meet with Lakers doctors after tearing cartilage in his left knee.
The Lakers will issue a timetable for his return later Wednesday. He optimistically said on Twitter he might be back in a week and a half, a view that was met with pessimism by the Lakers. The tweet was quickly deleted.
World Peace's absence certainly won't help the Lakers defensively.
"It's tough to offset it but everybody has to pick up the slack," Dwight Howard said. "That's all we can do."
Jodie Meeks will start for the Lakers on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, taking World Peace's spot in the lineup.
World Peace was apparently injured by slipping on a wet spot at Oracle Arena in the Lakers' 109-103 loss Monday to Golden State.
Kobe Bryant will move to small forward for the Lakers, who have two more road games -- Milwaukee on Thursday and Sacramento on Saturday -- before returning home.
They play one road game outside of Los Angeles in their final eight regular-season games -- April 10 at Portland. Their last scheduled game is April 17 against Houston.
The Lakers (36-35) are only one game ahead of Dallas and Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They do not hold the tiebreaker against Utah, which is a done deal, but they own a 2-1 lead over Dallas. The Lakers and Mavericks play again Tuesday at Staples Center.
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