Because of injuries, Lakers' starting lineup has changed game to game

It doesn't take a numerologist to figure out the unevenness of the Lakers' roster. Or their season.

The Lakers have played 30 games. They've used 15 starting lineups. None of their players has started every game this season.

It sounds a lot like the crux of a 13-17 team. With only minimal promise of a playoff-bound turnaround.

A 16th starting lineup could be unveiled Sunday against Philadelphia if neither Chris Kaman (sprained ankle) nor Pau Gasol (upper-respiratory infection) gets healthy. They didn't practice with the team Saturday and were considered game-time decisions.

That's the Lakers these days. Their whole season feels like a game-time decision.

Coach Mike D'Antoni acknowledged that he has never juggled so much so early in the season during his 12-year coaching career.

"We have a lot of people that are even. We don't have a set of three superstars and two guys and here's their role," D'Antoni said Saturday. "And we've had injuries…. We're scrambling a little bit."

It all starts with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, who have each missed 24 games. Steve Blake has missed nine and isn't expected back for at least four more weeks.

Thirteen of 15 players on the Lakers' roster have started a game. Rookie Ryan Kelly has not. Nor has recent signee Kendall Marshall, who has barely played, period.

"I haven't had a season like this," said Jodie Meeks, whose 23 starts are second on the team to only Gasol (28). "It's been kind of crazy and hectic, but you have to get through it."

Earlier in the week, D'Antoni was down on fair-weather Lakers fans. By Saturday, though, he was optimistic about the near future.

"These guys have played with a focus and purpose. We feel like we're ready to turn the corner," he said.

The Lakers (13-17) are looking at consecutive home games against teams with losing records: Philadelphia (8-20), Milwaukee (6-23) and Utah (9-23). Philadelphia, in particular, is 1-12 on the road.

Short on bigs?

Kaman was downcast Friday after injuring his ankle but might be closer to returning than Gasol, who has missed two of the last four games.

"It looks pretty favorable [for Kaman]. He feels pretty good about it," D'Antoni said. "The swelling's not too bad."

Kaman had 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Lakers' 105-103 loss to Utah. He was injured when he stepped on a Utah player's foot while passing the ball to Jordan Farmar.

Gasol is averaging 15 points and nine rebounds. He sat out a Dec. 21 game at Golden State, played two after that, then sat out against Utah.

Jordan Hill and Shawne Williams probably will be the Lakers' starters against Philadelphia if Kaman and Gasol are out. Robert Sacre also could figure in the mix.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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