Lakers get welcome reinforcements

Updated: February 7, 2014, 10:28 PM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

PHILADELPHIA -- After finishing their last game with just four eligible players, the Los Angeles Lakers should have a whopping nine healthy bodies against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

Nick Young (left knee fracture) and Jordan Farmar (left hamstring tightness) won't be in the mix, but the Lakers will welcome back Steve Nash and Jordan Hill to the lineup (both sat out the Cleveland game) as well as Shawne Williams, who was called up from the L.A. D-Fenders of the D-League and signed to a 10-day contract.

"You hate it for the guys," coach Mike D'Antoni said of the injuries that have derailed his team's season. "I think we were getting in a pretty nice rhythm and we were playing better the last three halves. Hopefully tonight will be another step forward and we got enough bodies where we should be OK."

The Lakers' body count could drop from nine to eight by tip-off. Steve Blake is a game-time decision with a right thigh contusion he suffered against the Cavaliers.

Despite all the bad luck with injuries this season, there was something for the 17-32 Lakers to celebrate Friday: Nash's 40th birthday.

When the 18-year veteran starts against the Sixers, he will become just the fourth point guard in the history of the league to play into his 40s, joining Bob Cousy, John Stockton and Jason Kidd.

"Forty," said D'Antoni, who first coached Nash with the Phoenix Suns a decade ago. "Can you believe that? Not many guys can reach that milestone playing."

Nash, who is the oldest active player in the league this season, will be playing in just his second game after missing nearly three months with nerve irritation in his back and hamstrings, downplayed the achievement.

"It's great to be known for being old," Nash deadpanned. "'That guy was a really old point guard.' But it's great, I have to admit it's pretty awesome to be suiting up in the NBA tonight at 40 years old. I think about the alternative, not that it'd be bad but to just not be playing. It's pretty cool."

Whereas Nash has been fortunate to last so long in the league, Young just wants to be fortunate enough to recover from the non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise in his left knee to get back on the court after he is re-evaluated in two weeks.

"I'm confident," Young said. "But I can't do nothing right now. You have to take a day or two off, rest and start my treatment. I haven't been injured like this. Whatever they suggest, I'll do it."

Young, the Lakers' second-leading scorer at 16.9 points per game, was still upset with the contact made by Cleveland's C.J. Miles when his injury occurred.

"We need to go fine C.J. Miles or do something to him," Young said. "We got to throw some eggs or throw something at his house."

Meanwhile, Williams, waived by the Lakers one month ago to the day Friday, will be back in the lineup throwing up shots from the outside.

"He just said he made everything down in the D-League," D'Antoni said. "He's got to feel comfortable and he'll get it. I think he'll step right in. It's not like he's been out for two weeks with an injury. It's not new. He'll be fine."

Williams, who averaged 5.2 points on 37.7 percent shooting and 4.5 rebounds before being cut, averaged 19.5 points on 49.1 percent shooting and 5.8 rebounds in four games with the D-Fenders.

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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