Theo Ratliff

Lakers’ Derrick Caracter tears meniscus in left knee


The Lakers are already a little thin along the front line after sending out Lamar Odom — although getting Josh McRoberts was a nice pickup — and this is not going to help matters.

Second year player Derrick Caracter has torn the meniscus on his left knee and is set to undergo surgery on Wednesday according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (and other reports out of Lakers camp). There is no timetable for his recovery yet, but don’t expect to see him until after the All-Star break at best.

The Lakers were looking to add front line help this season to keep the minutes down for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, and Caracter was going to get a chance to prove he could contribute. But with this injury and the Odom trade, they remain thin up front. And without much cap space to go get more talent.

We all keep waiting for the other shoe to drop with a big Lakers move. But while we wait it should be pointed out that while L.A.’s starting five is still very impressive their second unit is Steve Blake, Jason Kapono, Josh McRoberts, Matt Barnes (or Gerald Green) and Theo Ratliff. With the condensed schedule this season depth will matter more than ever and the Lakers don’t really have it.

Are the Knicks considering Kwame Brown? Apparently.


Free agent priority No. 1 for the Knicks — maintain projected cap space for next summer so they can try to bring in one more star player (cough* Chris Paul *cough).

Priority No. 2: find a big defensive minded center, but one will take a one-year deal as not to screw up priority No. 1.

That leaves a pretty unimpressive list. One filled with names like Kwame Brown. Yes Knick fans, Kwame. You’re not going to like it but that’s what you’ll get, according to a list suggested by Marc Berman at the New York Post.

The lockout began July 1 and ended at 3:30 a.m. yesterday with the Knicks having the same grave need for a big, defensive center. With one-year deals at their disposal, it makes their center wish list — as first reported by The Post — rather modest, including veterans Kurt Thomas, Kwame Brown, Tony Battie, Theo Ratliff and Aaron Gray.

Thing is, of that list Brown may be the best choice.

Brown can defend opposing big men one-on-one pretty well. He’s got a big body and can use it when given focused tasks. He’ll be handy against Dwight Howard. If you want good help rotations against the slashing LeBron James or Derrick Rose, or if you want offense, Kwame is not your guy.

If I were the Knicks, I’d make a run at longtime Pacer Jeff Foster. Much better fit on a one-year deal.

But if the choice is Kwame or Theo Ratliff… well, that just doesn’t bode all that well for the Knicks season.

Pau Gasol’s hamstring ailing, but Lakers have no other good options

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Pau Gasol missed 17 games last season because one or another of his hamstrings was hurt.

This season, Gasol knew he would have to play more minutes and take on more of the load in the paint until Andrew Bynum returned (then Theo Ratliff went down, making things worse). What has returned more quickly than Bynum is a sore Gasol hamstring.

Gasol could use some rest — he has averaged 43.4 minutes per game the last five — but Phil Jackson doesn’t have a lot of choices.

Before the Lakers first game of the season Phil Jackson was asked about playing rookie Derrick Caracter key minutes and he said “I hope not” almost before the question was over.

But Thursday Phil Jackson has said Gasol could sit out Friday night against the Kings, and if he does Caracter would get the start, as reported by Andrew Kamenetzky at the Land O’ Lakers blog.

“(We) might have to start (Caracter) and play him the whole game. That’s always an option where something may happen with that.”

Caracter is a nice rookie with potential. He isn’t a great shooter or rebounder at the NBA level yet, and he turns the ball over like a rookie. He should be down in the D-League getting reps, not a guy starting for a contender.

Tonight, look for Gasol to go. But look for Caracter to get key minutes, likely matched up on DeMarcus Cousins. Which will be interesting (Caracter held his own for three quarters against Cousins in Summer League, but Cousins has the potential to overwhelm Caracter).

Lakers shopping for short-term backup center

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With Andrew Bynum still a few weeks away, Theo Ratliff out for a month or more after knee surgery, Lamar Odom’s sore foot and so on, the Lakers may be looking for some help. So that Pau Gasol doesn’t have to play 43 minutes, like he did against the Bucks Tuesday.

Phil Jackson said the Lakers could be in the market to sign a center, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We have to have some support there interim until Andrew comes back,” Coach Phil Jackson said Tuesday.

The Lakers will talk to the representative for free-agent Erick Dampier, though it might not be a good match for either side. Dampier will want more than a short-term contract, and the Lakers are looking for a little more mobility in the post.

The Lakers cannot offer a 10-day contract (it is not allowed until later in the season) but this deal would be essentially that, a non-guaranteed deal where the guy will be cut loose when everyone is healthy. Dampier would never sign that deal, so we don’t need to get into what a bad fit that would be.

Jake Voskuhl, Steven Hunter and Sean May will get looks, according to the report. Also, for the next couple games expect to see more of rookie Derrick Caracter (already on the Lakers roster).

Lakers’ Theo Ratliff has knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks

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Theo Ratliff was supposed to be some insurance for the Lakers, a veteran big man they could use a few minutes a game until Andrew Bynum returned, a guy who could get rebounds and body up (read: foul) opposing bigs in some matchups.

But not for the next month or so.

Ratliff had his knee scoped out Tuesday and will be sidelined for the next month to six weeks, according to the team.

Bynum is a few weeks away still (they hope he starts working out on the court in the next week or so). So this means more minutes for Lamar Odom and his sore foot. It’s going to mean rookie Derrick Caracter is going to get more burn — he has acquitted himself pretty well in the 5.6 minutes per game he has gotten, but with a lot of rookie mistakes, especially on defense.