World Peace to have knee surgery, out six weeks

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UPDATE 4:28 pm: Metta World Peace will have surgery on his left knee Thursday and is expected to be out at least six weeks, tweets Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.

That would have the Lakers starting small forward and team +/- leader (among regulars) out until the first weeks of May. Which means if you think the Lakers will advance to the second round of the playoffs they could get him back for some games. But the more realistic way to view this is he is now done for the season.

Which will be interesting as he could find himself on the free agent market next summer.

1:30 pm: If you want to know what the future of the Lakers this season looks like, know that at shootaround today the starting lineup had Steve Nash at the point, Jodie Meeks at the two, Kobe Bryant slid over to the three spot, and Pau Gasol with Dwight Howard was the front line.

There was no Metta World Peace, who suffered a lateral meniscus tear during the first half against Golden State Monday.

The team announced the injury but no timetable for his return. But when coach Mike D’Antoni was asked about it at shootaround in Minnesota Wednesday the news was not good, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

This is a blow to the Lakers.

This season when he is on the court the Lakers offense is nearly 5 points per 100 possessions better, the defense is 4.8 better. World Peace can space the floor with solid three point shooting (34.7 percent this season), he’s a good man defender and a solid rebounder. He hasn’t been spectacular for the Lakers this season, but he’s been solid.

Which is more than you can say for the guys getting his minutes. Earl Clark started out hot but fell off dramatically as time went on. Jodie Meeks hasn’t shot like was expected of him. The defensive drop off is severe and it will put more pressure on Dwight Howard in the back to clean up the messes of the perimeter. And he can only clean up so much.

We’ll update when the Lakers give official news on World Peace’s status.