Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni was stunned to learn Thursday that Kobe Bryant will be out six weeks with a knee injury.
"You hate it for Kobe, he's worked so hard getting back," D'Antoni said. "He was coming on. His shot percentage kept getting better and his turnovers kept getting less."
Bryant missed the team's first 19 games, recovering from Achilles surgery. He was hurt in his sixth game on Tuesday in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
"It's just bad luck," said D'Antoni.
Bryant was hurt in the third quarter, slipping while posting up noted Memphis defender Tony Allen.
The Lakers All-Star guard shook off the injury, playing another seven minutes to help close out the Grizzlies, 96-92.
"Obviously when he came back and played, we thought everything was OK," said D'Antoni. "It might be a little hyperextension, but we thought he was good."
Instead Bryant suffered a fracture of his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee.
D'Antoni said he knows Bryant will come back strong once healed.
"He's a tough guy," he said. "I think he'll be back in six weeks and he'll be hunting for some bear."
Bryant used the term "bear hunt" to describe his efforts to return from the Achilles' tendon tear, a nod to a Jay Z lyric, "If you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear."
With Bryant out six weeks, Steve Blake (elbow) down another five, Steve Nash (back) still out for at least a month and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) about a week away -- D'Antoni is looking at an active roster without a single true point guard.
"We're going to draw straws, I don't think any of them want to," joked D'Antoni. "Nah, it'll be X,"
X is short for Xavier Henry, the team's 6-foot-6 guard who signed over the summer as a non-guaranteed free agent.
"I told X, he better be careful," said D'Antoni. "We're running out of point guards."
"Running" isn't the right word -- "ran" is more appropriate.
Henry is averaging one assist, low even for a shooting guard.
D'Antoni tried to answer the flurry of questions after practice about how the team will survive short-handed at the position.
"It is what it is, I hate to use that cliché," he answered. "We have enough guys here to win -- that's another cliché. We're going to have close ranks -- that's another cliché. I can throw them all at you."
"We just have to do it. We're going to play hard. We have enough guys out there, enough talent that we're going to be fine."
ALSO:Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun