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Metta World Peace has meniscus tear in knee, out for a while

Mar 26, 2013, 10:25 PM EDT

Tyreke Evans, Metta World Peace AP

The Lakers perimeter defense is a mess this season — Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jodie Meeks are not good defenders. Kobe Bryant can be but is prone to gambling. The result is Dwight Howard left trying to clean up too many messes.

Metta World Peace is the one guy the Lakers count on to alter that dynamic, plus he is really the only true small forward worth anything on the roster.

But the Lakers are going to have to be without him for a while.

World Peace tweaked his knee in the first half against Golden State (and sat out the second half). He had an MRI Tuesday and the news for the Lakers is not good, reports Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles.com.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ snake-bit season continued Tuesday with Metta World Peace receiving an MRI in Minneapolis on his left knee that showed a lateral meniscus tear.

World Peace will return to Los Angeles where he will be examined Wednesday by team doctor Steve Lombardo, forcing him to miss that night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

There is no timetable for his return yet. World Peace tweeted he hopes it will be a week and a half, but players tend to be optimistic about these things. People around the team expect it to be longer.

Look for Earl Clark to be back in the Lakers starting lineup until World Peace can play again. Coach Mike D’Antoni likely also will play around with a smaller lineup of Nash, Meeks and Kobe moving over to the three.

It comes at a bad time for a Lakers team that has lost three in a row and is just one game ahead of Utah for the final playoff spot in the West and 1.5 ahead of Dallas (heading into Tuesday night). The Lakers need wins and World Peace had been a reliable three-point shooter and defender for them in a season when little else has been dependable. The Lakers will miss him.

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