In another twist to an ever-worsening season, the Lakers are losing games and healthy bodies at almost identical rates.
Versatile reserve Xavier Henry was the latest to go down, sustaining a strained right knee Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers and scheduled to undergo an MRI exam Monday.
In a semi-related note, the Lakers lost, 111-104, dropping their fifth straight game and completing it with only five healthy reserves at Staples Center.
Make that 41/2. Chris Kaman played only 10 minutes because of a sprained left ankle that stiffened up during the game.
The 76ers, by the way, were 8-21 and a horrendous
1-13 on the road before Sunday.
This was supposed to be a breezy week for the Lakers, who also play host to Milwaukee (6-24) and Utah (9-24). Now they find themselves in 13th place in the Western Conference with a 13-18 record.
If the Lakers can't beat the 76ers at home, what can they do? Not much.
"There's no secret formula or sauce," Coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We've got to get some guys healthy and try to stay fairly close and hope [Steve] Blake comes back and Pau [Gasol] comes back and Kobe [Bryant] comes back and try to do something. The biggest thing is keeping our guys' heads up and going."
Gasol missed a third game because of an upper respiratory infection, though Jordan Hill filled in nicely with 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers. It might have been the only way to get "nicely" and "Lakers" in the same sentence Sunday.
Nick Young had 26 points but made only six of 21 shots, including two of 11 from three-point range.
"Nick, tonight, I thought forced too much and he was out of sorts," D'Antoni said. "But he'll have to go through that. He's being called to be the No. 1 guy and that's tough every night."
Henry came into the game averaging 10.4 points and 22.3 minutes, successfully transitioning from training-camp invitee to a resourceful swingman who even started a handful of games at point guard. His hard-charging method of getting to the basket made him one of the few Lakers who could create his own shot.
He was driving toward the basket when Thaddeus Young stole the ball from him late in the first quarter. Henry's momentum carried him forward another couple of steps, and his knee buckled slightly on one of them.
"Just caught in a weird position," Henry said. "It feels weird. ... It just felt a little loose."
Henry becomes the fifth Lakers point guard to be injured, joining Blake, Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar and emergency fourth-stringer Bryant.
"That seems to be an area that's not good," D'Antoni said.
Another not-so-good area — the Lakers' defense.
The 76ers scored almost nine points more than their average and dominated the Lakers in the paint, 52-28.
Forwards Young (25 points) and Evan Turner (22 points) took turns nicking up the Lakers with a variety of shots.
Lakers rookie Ryan Kelly showed a little something, scoring seven points and taking six rebounds in 18 minutes, but the Lakers shot 36.9% and scored only seven points over the final 5 minutes 46 seconds. They also had 22 turnovers, continuing to fester in the bottom 10 of the league in the category.
"I don't have a whole lot of answers for you right today," D'Antoni said. "But we're not going to get discouraged and these guys are going to play hard."