Jordan Hill Diagnosed with Back Injury
The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Monday that forward/center Jordan Hill was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back (L5, S1).
Hill was recently re-signed by the team on a two-year, $7.1 million contract. Lakers head coach Mike Brown had singled out Hill as one of the bright spots in training camp, but now he’ll sit for a week after which he’ll be reevaluated.
In the team’s preseason opener, Hill scored 10 points but it may be a while until he’s back on the court.
In addition to Dwight Howard, who is still taking his time to return to active duty with a back issue, the Lakers have Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison and rookie Robert Sacre at the big-men positions. The team also has camp-invites Greg Somogyi and Ronnie Aguilar. Somogyi has some potential as a project given his size (7’3), but he’s probably a stretch to make the final roster.
Sacre, taken with the 60th pick in the draft, may have a greater chance to make the final roster given Hill’s injury.
Jamison had been playing minutes at three through camp, but logically may shift to four if Hill is out for a significant stretch.
The Lakers have an improved bench this season but comparatively speaking, it’s not the true strength of the club and not quite on par with many of their competitors.
The team will update Hill’s status next week.
Free agent Kenyon Martin has yet to sign with a team and, while he would like to earn more than the league minimum, his children do reside in the Los Angeles area. Naturally, if Hill’s back injury is only a minor problem, Martin might be a reach. If Hill could be gone for months, perhaps “K-Mart” makes sense for the Lakers.
While the minimum for Martin would be $1.35 million, the Lakers do have $1.59 million of their Mid-Level Exception remaining. While roster count could be an issue (someone else would have to go if the team carries 15 players into the season), adding in the defensive prowess of Martin, in addition to his experience with the Princeton Offense, might make sense on multiple levels.