Lakers must sign this hometown center after awful Christian Wood injury update

Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz
Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

Christian Wood has been out of action for several weeks as the Los Angeles Lakers have had to turn the car keys completely over to Jaxson Hayes. When Wood first hit the shelf, the injury seemed rather minor with the expectation that he would return before the end of the regular season.

The hope of the injury being minor may have been misplaced as the deck is stacked against Wood to play before the end of the regular season, or in the NBA Playoffs for that matter. Woods will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee and will be sidelined for several more weeks.

The last regular season game of the season is on April 14, which is less than one full month from the day that it was announced that Wood would have the procedure. Him returning for the NBA Playoffs is not impossible but the Lakers should prepare for the worst.

And for the purple and gold, that means adding center depth in any way possible while Wood is sidelined. The options at this point in the season obviously are not great (to the point where fans legitimately want to see a Dwight Howard return); but there is one option that at least provides some promise.

Lakers must sign Chimezie Metu after Christian Wood injury update

Of the available options at the center position the 26-year-old Los Angeles native makes the most sense for the purple and gold. Metu, who grew up in Los Angeles and played his college ball at USC, has more in the gas tank than these veteran centers who are holding on to their NBA careers by a thread.

Metu actually has NBA minutes this season to bank on as he started the season with the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix signed Metu as a depth center over the offseason and despite flashes, it never quite panned out for the young center. He was traded and waived at the deadline.

Metu obviously would not reinvent the Lakers' rotation but he could at least give the Lakers some depth as a security blanket with Wood being out of action. He is an athletic-enough big man who is good enough on the boards, plays serviceable defense for a big and is not a liability from the charity stripe.

It does not have to be a long-term commitment for the Lakers, either. Los Angeles can sign Metu to a 10-day contract to help the team get through this current stretch without Wood. If Metu impresses on the first 10-day then he could sign a second one. If he fits well in this rotation, the Lakers could look to create roster space to bring him in for the playoffs.

Having multiple bigs to just throw at Nikola Jokic and rough him up is not a bad thing and it is what helped the Lakers get through the Denver Nuggets in the 2020 Western Conference Finals. If Wood is not going to return then retaining Metu would almost be a necessity.

The Lakers need to be proactive with moves like this and not reactive. Signing Metu may not seem like a big needle mover but it would still have a positive impact on the team as a whole.

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