|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Step right up, Kendall Marshall. You're the next contestant to play starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
Marshall will become the sixth player to start a game at the point for Los Angeles when it hosts the Utah Jazz on Friday night, coach Mike D'Antoni said after practice Thursday. Marshall, whom the Lakers plucked from the D-League less than two weeks ago, will start in place of Jordan Farmar.
Farmar was diagnosed with a tear in his left hamstring on Wednesday, separate from another tear in the same hamstring that sidelined him for 10 games in December.
|Kendall Marshall is averaging 5.3 points and 2.5 assists in 13.5 minutes in the four games he's played for the Lakers since being picked up from the D-League last month.|
"I feel really bad for him," D'Antoni said of Farmar. "It's not in the same spot. It's kind of weird. Of course, it's kind of par for the course. In the last couple months we've just had some weird injuries."
Farmar said he suffered the new tear during the Lakers' 111-104 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday but thought he was just feeling the lingering effects of scar tissue from the previous hamstring injury. He pulled himself out of L.A.'s 94-79 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
"Going through the game against Milwaukee I just couldn't do it," said Farmar, who was treated with a platelet-rich plasma injection in the left hamstring Thursday. "I told them I'd rather get it looked at so at least I know if it is scar tissue, then I know it's something that I have to push through, and if it's not, then we'll know how to deal with it. Unfortunately, it was something new."
The new tear is expected to keep Farmar out a minimum of four weeks. Farmar was put on the same recovery timeline when he suffered the first hamstring tear and returned to the lineup in 24 days. He said rushing back had nothing to do with the new injury.
"You feel 100 percent, you get it looked at on the ultrasound and see that it's healed, there's really nothing else you can do at that point," Farmar said. "At some point you have to actually get on the court and play and figure it out. I'm all for how they handled it the first time, and it's pretty much the same protocol this time around."
Marshall, the No. 13 in the 2012 draft by the Phoenix Suns, stepped up to play 28 minutes against the Bucks in Farmar's absence, finishing with 10 points and seven assists.
"It's unfortunate some of the injuries that we're having, but I think it's up to us collectively as a team to kind of figure it out," said Marshall, who is averaging 5.3 points and 2.5 assists in 13.5 minutes in the four games he's played for L.A. since being picked up following injuries to Farmar, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Kobe Bryant.
Since Marshall was added to the mix, the Lakers also lost Xavier Henry -- another player who filled in at point guard -- to a right knee injury that will keep him out at least another week.
"For [Marshall] to be a good player in this league, he's got to continue to work on his shot and get that all better, but he knows how to play and he knows how to run a team," D'Antoni said. "We expect him to get more comfortable with the menu of plays and expect him to keep playing better."
While all of Marshall's comments after practice Thursday focused on the 13-19 Lakers and the necessity of breaking out of their current six-game losing streak, his teammates mentioned the opportunity that now sits in front of a a guy who was playing for the D-League's Delaware 87ers not too long ago.
"It's a good situation for him," Jodie Meeks said. "He wasn't playing in the NBA a couple weeks ago. So now that he's getting a lot of minutes it can help get his career started. He really didn't have a chance last year I don't think, so it's a good thing for him."
Meeks will become the Lakers' default backup point guard for the time being, although he embraces the role more than the title.
"I try not to say 'point guard' because it seems like all of them are getting hurt," Meeks said with a laugh. "I try to say 'decision-maker.'"