Los Angeles Lakers: herniated disc

Practice report: Jordan Hill, 35-0 runs and the backup two-guard

October, 9, 2012
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
For obvious reasons, Monday's news of Jordan Hill's herniated disc prompted frowns throughout Laker Nation. Hill is expected to be a key contributor for a theoretically improved bench, and his presence prevents Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol from logging too many minutes. Thus, an extended absence could start the season on the wrong foot. Well, seeing is believing, but for the time being, the forward is confident he won't miss much time. During Tuesday's practice, Hill assured the surrounding media that surgery isn't on the horizon and that his condition is "definitely not that serious." The team and athlete are simply being proactive to prevent a debilitating situation.

"It can get serious if you don't get your core right and stretched," acknowledged Hill. "So that's what we're doing now. We're gonna reevaluate it in a week and hopefully I'll be back in a week."

The forward couldn't pinpoint the exact first-half possession Sunday that caused his injury, but one thing was certain. "I just knew something was wrong," Hill said. "It wasn't really that much pain, but it was just a feeling that I'd never had before, that I just wanted to check it to make sure to see if it was okay. The MRI showed something was wrong with it, but nothing too serious."

Still, better safe than sorry, a mantra reinforced to Hill by none other than Howard, who has learned a thing or two about trying to play through back pain. As Hill explained, Howard "had a same short, little tear on his disc and he kept playing on it, and didn't get his core right, really stretching it. And it got worse. So that's what we gotta do. We just gotta get it strong."

(Read full post)

Jordan Hill sidelined with a back injury

October, 8, 2012
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
The No. 1 goal of the Los Angeles Lakers' preseason -- above developing chemistry, conditioning and the increased understanding of a new system -- is to emerge unbitten by the injury bug. Period. End of story. Especially for a team collectively long in the tooth.

Whatever goals not reached during training camp can always be met as the season progresses. Eighty-two games and nearly six months is a loooooong time to work out the kinks before the playoffs. But injuries are the one element that can't be completely controlled, through even the most diligent human effort. When the body decides not to cooperate, that's a problem, and one that can potentially persist throughout an entire campaign.

Especially when you're talking back injuries.

Thus, news that Jordan Hill was diagnosed Monday with a herniated disc (L5, S1) is a bit unsettling. Presumably, the injury took place during Sunday's preseason loss, during which the Orange County Register's Kevin Ding tweeted that Hill spent time on the sideline with a pad on his back and in consultation with trainer Gary Vitti.

The forward will be re-evaluated in a week.

Obviously, treating this as an unbeatable setback for the championship quest would be premature. We have no idea of the severity of Hill's condition. But, in theory, it could be problematic.

Back issues are often recurrent, and what sets them off can be hard to predict. Just ask Luke Walton, whose last few years in L.A. were beset with back problems. Say what you want about Luke or his contract -- and most Lakers fans have -- but the guy worked hard in his failed efforts to rediscover the form of a merely solid role player. Hill obviously possesses more athleticism on his worst day than Walton on his best, but his game also relies quite a bit on that athleticism. Were Hill's back unstable throughout the season, his effectiveness would likely suffer.

In the meantime, that's now two Lakers big men tackling back issues. But part of the reason Dwight Howard's potential absence to start the season didn't feel so daunting is in part Hill's ability to help hold down the fort. With both sidelined for games, the Lakers big men now consist of Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison (who may be slated to play more small forward in Mike Brown's perfect world), the very raw Earl Clark and a bunch of dudes with non-guaranteed contracts and no NBA track record. Depending on Hill's diagnosis, perhaps the Lakers will make a run at a Kenyon Martin-type (an unsigned veteran), if not the genuine article. But whoever they'd land on the open market wouldn't likely be as effective (nor as young) as a healthy Hill.

Fingers crossed, the injury won't prove serious and Jordan can return to the court in reasonably quick time.



Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0