The Los Angeles Lakers' worst season in recent memory just got worse: Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard are both out indefinitely. Howard, the Lakers big offseason acquisition (along with Steve Nash, who is also injured), has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and Gasol has a concussion. Howard sounded optimistic about helping the Lakers again soon: "It shouldn't keep me out for awhile, but to make sure that I'm cautious, to make sure that I'm healthy that's the most important thing," Howard told reporters. When the question of surgery came up, Howard sounded like a kid being asked if he wants to go to the dentist: "No surgery. It's something that takes a little time to heal. ... I don't need surgery. At all."
Gasol was concussed in yesterday's 112-105 loss to the Nuggets, the Lakers third straight loss. He will not travel with the team. Concussions are notoriously difficult to gauge, with some players coming back quickly, and others not feeling right for the rest of the season.
The injuries to Howard and Gasol are the most recent bumps in the road in a season that has already had its share for the Lakers. Hailed as a top team after the acquisitions of Nash and Howard, the Lakers lost Nash to injury early on, lost a lot of games, fired their coach, and now find themselves 15-18, 11th in the Western Conference. The Lakers seem too talented for this to last forever, but the season is almost half over and if this keeps up, we can start legitimately wondering if the Lakers will even make the playoffs.