Can LA Lakers Compensate for Star Injuries and Save Lost Season?

It's hard to pinpoint any specific loss as being overly costly for the 15-18 Los Angeles Lakers.

But their latest defeat, a 112-105 loss at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on January 6, left the club with more than the typical morning after sting.

During the game, the Lakers' frontcourt was decimated by injury. By the time the final whistle blew, L.A. was without starting center Dwight Howard (torn labrum in his right shoulder), starting power forward Pau Gasol (concussion) and reserve big man Jordan Hill (right hip).

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni told the Associated Press after the game, "It's kind of weird coming to work thinking you have three centers, and all three of them are hurt on the same day," (via

Not sure if "weird" is the first word that came to mind when I first heard about the injuries. More like damned by the basketball gods.

Considering that Howard has been hampered all season by the lingering effects of an April 2012 back surgery, his departure might have seemed like a blessing in disguise. His 17.3 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game have masked his limitations to a degree, but anyone who's watched Superman dominate the interior over the years could see that he wasn't close to being 100 percent.

But having Gasol and Hill as casualties in the same game has left this already hobbled club staggering.

Seldom used rookie Robert Sacre had his D-League stint halted abruptly with a call up not just to the NBA, but into the Lakers starting lineup for their matchup with the 20-14 Houston Rockets on January 8.

Even the most diehard Gonzaga supporters have to cringe at the thought of Sacre as the sole protector of the Lakers' paint with penetrating professionals Jeremy Lin and James Harden on the horizon.

Of course, these injuries are a concern for more than just the Houston game. Early reports tab both Howard an...

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