Lakers' Matt Barnes day to day
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes irritated a nerve in his right leg in pregame warm-ups and did not play in the Lakers' 92-84 win against the Charlotte Bobcats. Coach Phil Jackson had planned to play Barnes on Friday for the first time since he went out of the lineup Jan. 7 with a slight tear of the meniscus in his right knee.
Barnes did practice with the Lakers on Saturday and received treatment from team trainers. His status is listed as day to day.
"It was weird," Barnes said Friday. "I aggravated a nerve while I was stretching, so it had nothing to do with my knee. My knee is fine. I was just stretching before the game and aggravated a nerve. It kind of made my whole leg hot, then fuzzy, then it sort of hurt."
Barnes was examined by the Lakers' medical staff prior to tipoff.
"I thought maybe I could have torn some cartilage or something weird like that," Barnes said. "But the doctors came in and checked it out and said it was a nerve."
Jackson was perplexed by Barnes' condition and would not predict whether he would be available to play Sunday in San Antonio.
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"I don't know what to say about Matt," Jackson said. "I don't know when he's going to be ready or if. It's one of those situations you just don't like to see happen."
Barnes' surgically repaired right knee showed no ill effects at Friday's shootaround following Thursday's full practice.
"We didn't do a whole lot of activity, but he was fine from yesterday's practice," Jackson said after the team's morning shootaround. "That's basically what we had to look at."
Barnes said he iced his knee heavily Thursday night and did not experience any swelling.
Barnes will eventually return to his role as Ron Artest's primary backup at small forward, possibly Sunday. He is averaging 20.8 minutes a game this season.
Barnes, who is averaging 7.4 points on 47.4 percent shooting and 4.8 rebounds, said the 25 games he's missed are the most he's ever sat due to injury during his eight-year career.
"I've missed from being sick and suspended," Barnes said. "I've haven't missed [this many games] for an injury."
Barnes' setback comes at an unfortunate time for the team, as the Lakers announced Friday that rookie Devin Ebanks, another Artest backup at small forward, has a stress fracture in his left tibia and will miss a minimum of three weeks.
"It was very frustrating," Barnes said. "I was so excited to play tonight. I went out there and tried to get it going during warm-ups, but it just didn't feel right, so better safe than sorry."
Jackson had hoped to reintroduce Barnes to the lineup against a weaker opponent like the 26-35 Bobcats but now faces the prospect of Barnes returning with the next five Lakers games against playoff-bound teams with winning records.
"We'd much rather have him play in a game like tonight where we had a double-digit lead most of the second half and we had the second unit out there playing most of the fourth quarter," Jackson said. "It would have been a good opportunity for him to figure in, but he'll have to go in the fire. I guess that's what will have to happen."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.