Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/27/13
MINNEAPOLIS — The Los Angeles Lakers’ push for the playoffs just got a whole lot tougher. Lakers forward Metta World Peace, the team’s best perimeter defender, is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’ll miss a minimum of six weeks, the team announced Wednesday. That means that even if the Lakers get into the playoffs — they’re in eighth place in the West, just a game ahead of Utah and Dallas for the final spot — he’d be sidelined for at least the first round and probably more. Losing World Peace, who had been their most durable player, was the latest in a long line of injuries for a team that started the season with championship aspirations but just hasn’t been able to sustain any stretch of health or success. Dwight Howard (back and shoulder), Pau Gasol (foot), Kobe Bryant (ankle, wrist), Steve Nash (knee) and Jordan Hill (hip) have all missed significant time or had to play through injuries this season. Now add World Peace, who is averaging 12.8 points and 5.1 rebounds and, more importantly, was the one player on the roster who could be counted on to play some tough defense on the opposing swingmen. His physical nature and never-back-down mentality was essential for a team that has often struggled on that end of the floor. Only six teams have allowed more points this season than the Lakers, who were also 15th in opponent’s field goal percentage. “I was hurt because Metta, he’s been strong all year,” Howard said at the team’s shootaround on Wednesday morning. “He hasn’t really had that many problems and then he gets hit with a serious injury. It just seems like all year when somebody comes out (off the injured list), somebody does down. So, it’s kind of tough and to see Metta go down, it kind of hurt.” Coach Mike D’Antoni said Jodie Meeks would get the start in World Peace’s place on Wednesday night against the Timberwolves, who have lost 21 straight to the Lakers. That means that Bryant will have to play small forward on defense, which will likely mean more wear and tear on a 34-year-old body that already has plenty of bumps and bruises. World Peace’s injury may cause Bryant to reinvent himself yet again this season. Earlier in the year when Nash was out and the Lakers were struggling to move the ball, Bryant made an effort to get his teammates more involved at the expense of his own scoring. Now Bryant, whose days as an elite on-the-ball defender appear to be waning, may have to focus more on that end of the floor to compensate for the loss of World Peace, all while playing on a badly sprained left ankle. “Don’t tell me how rough the water is. Just bring the boat in,” Bryant tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. “Mambaism(equals)No excuses.” World Peace was injured in the second quarter of a game against Golden State on Monday, staying in the locker room in the second half of what turned out to be the Lakers’ third straight loss. They have 11 games remaining, including tough ones against Dallas, Memphis, the Clippers, Golden State and San Antonio. “We just can’t seem to get any traction,” D’Antoni said at shootaround. “But, besides that, nobody is feeling sorry for us, and we got plenty (of talent) to win anyway. So let’s just do what we’re supposed to do and go out and play as hard as we can and see what happens.”
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Ohio State DL Dylan Thompson ineligible for season

Roger Federer will miss Olympics, U.S. Open with knee injury

Seahawks extend Pete Carroll through 2019

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye releases first statement following car crash

Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

Report: Paul Pierce to return to Clippers

Jimbo Fisher: You come to FSU to win national championships

Andre Johnson worked out for Tennessee Titans

Shattenkirk for Krejci trade rumor still floating around

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman denies link to C.T.E.

Michael Vick: Cam Newton can’t beat me in 40-yard dash

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

Odell Beckham Jr. says Giants will play in Super Bowl LI

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

Terrelle Pryor can visit Ohio State as five-year ban comes to a close

Rudy Gay admits to having ‘no idea’ about what the Kings are doing

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker