The Los Angeles Lakers just received some bad news, as veteran Jared Dudley has been diagnosed with an MCL tear in his right knee. The team announced the news, with the following full update on the situation per the Lakers’ team reporter Mike Trudell.
“In addition to a right knee contusion, Jared Dudley has been diagnosed with a right MCL tear. He is evaluating his treatment options and a timeline for his return will be given when appropriate.”
It’s currently unknown when the injury actually happened. He missed many games through most of January and early February related to a “knee contusion”. He played at least 10 minutes in each of the team’s three final games before the break, but was held out of the Lakers’ win against the Pacers on Friday with that same “right knee contusion”.
Via this doctor’s website, basketball players tend to return from MCL tears in four-to-eight weeks. Eight weeks would keep Jared Dudley out until nearly the very end of the season. Given Dudley’s overall playing time, you’d think that this presents a difficult decision for the Lakers. Although the Lakers don’t have enough cap space to absorb the contract of a big name trade target, the buyout market will probably have some names that are of interest to the team. They may want to waive Dudley given the fact that he’d take up a roster spot if they didn’t and wouldn’t factor into any sort of playoff rotation for the team (although they do currently have two open roster spots).
It goes without saying that Jared Dudley is a beloved member of the team. Everyone from LeBron James to Frank Vogel to Jeanie Buss sings his praises as an amazing locker room guy. His enthusiasm has probably been even more valuable for them in this season than last season’s championship run. Without fans, the Lakers probably need added energy every night and he seemingly has helped with that. And, of course, everyone on the Lakers loves a garbage time Dudley three with his patented three-fingers-down celebration as he’s running down the court.
We’ll have to see what the Lakers do here. They probably have a very emotional decision to make in the coming days that may result in Dudley being off the team.