Friday, January 7, 2011
Updated: January 8, 3:14 AM ET
Matt Barnes sprains knee, MRI Saturday
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes left Friday's 101-97 win against the New Orleans Hornets with 5:22 remaining in the second quarter and did not return.
Barnes was diagnosed with a sprained right knee and will undergo an MRI exam on Saturday morning, according to the team.
"It feels really sore," Barnes said while walking out of Staples Center on his own after the game without the aid of crutches.
Barnes said he was hopeful the injury would leave his recovery period as day-to-day, but added he had never dealt with a meniscus injury before so he could not gauge how severe it might be.
"They said it could just be a bone bruise," Barnes said. "Hopefully."
The injury occurred early on in the second quarter when Barnes went up for a one-handed rebound and landed awkwardly.
"I came down on one foot and rolled my ankle and then my leg got stuck and I fell back," Barnes said.
The eight-year veteran is averaging 7.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21.1 minutes per game this season and has carved out consistent playing time in the fourth quarter at small forward in lieu of starter Ron Artest.
Barnes wasn't the only Lakers bench player to get hurt Friday. Backup point guard Steve Blake rolled his left ankle while fouling Chris Paul with 9:55 left in the game and did not return.
Blake told reporters he was day-to-day and expects to play Sunday when the Lakers host the resurgent New York Knicks.
"I'm concerned about Matt, he'll go for a diagnostic test [Saturday] morning," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Steve, it's probably a sprain. He probably has to work that one out and hopefully he'll be back and ready for the game on Sunday."
Jackson said it would be a blow to the team not to have a full bench available against the run-and-gun Knicks.
"[It is a concern] definitely with the speed they play the game at," Jackson said. "It's a high-octane team. ... They generate a lot of points, they run the ball up and down the floor, they only have on their end maybe 5 or 6 seconds before a shot goes up. So, players have to be supported by their reserves. We have to have a reserve unit out there that complements our team."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.