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Sunday, January 8, 2012
No McRoberts against Memphis

By Dave McMenamin

Josh McRoberts' little piggy that went to market on his left foot (his big toe for those of you not familiar with the nursery rhyme) kept the Lakers' backup big man out of the lineup for the fourth straight game Sunday when the Lakers hosted the Grizzlies.

McRoberts told reporters before the game that he is eyeing a comeback "sometime this week."

"I’ve been able to do some cardio type of stuff, just being on the elliptical [machine] and things like that," McRoberts said. "I’m just trying to slowly get some weight-bearing [activities] done."

McRoberts averaged 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game to start the season and filled in for Andrew Bynum in the starting five for the first four games while Bynum was suspended.

Lakers coach Mike Brown said the Lakers' defense has suffered by not having McRoberts' activity out on the court.

"That’s part of what you miss when Josh is in the game, his athleticism, because he’s quicker and more athletic and stronger than you think," Brown said. "He plays with that sense of urgency all the time. He just is out there kind of flying around and all that other stuff, so when you have a guy out there at that size that’s athletic, he is missed. But that’s part of the process, He’ll come back when he can and I’m sure he’ll help us out when he’s back on the floor."

The Lakers have a busy week ahead of them with two back-to-backs starting with Phoenix and Utah on Tuesday and Wednesday and followed by Cleveland and the Clippers on Friday and Saturday.

McRoberts said that he has never experienced a toe injury like this before, nor has he experienced an injury that's caused him to miss games.

"I've never missed time. I've always been kind of banged up because of the style of play that I have," McRoberts said. "It's just killing me to sit out. The first game, I knew I was going to have to sit out, because they told me they were gonna shut me down, just to see how I felt from a little time off. So that first game, I was kinda like, 'All right. I'll suck it up for one game.' And then it became two games, three games. It's tough to have to sit out."

McRoberts played four games with the injury that occurred when his toe got curled back under his sneaker after a collision with Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins back in the second game of the season, but said it severely limited his mobility, which hurts him especially because he's a player who thrives off creating opportunities for himself with his activity.

"Hopefully, I'll be back at it and better than I was before. I felt like I could hardly dunk when I was out there the first time," McRoberts said. "I think I'll be more athletic and be able to be around the rim a little better.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.