Steve BlakeIt’s not trolling to say that Steve Blake, amid all the injuries the Lakers have endured, has been his team’s best player for much of this season. A 10-year veteran, Blake has never been a star and was never intended to be the feature guard in Los Angeles, where Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant were supposed to comprise the Lakers’ starting backcourt.

Injuries to both All-Stars forced Blake into a much larger role this season, however, and the veteran stepped up. Now, the Lakers have to hope someone else steps up with Blake sidelined as well.

Blake could miss up to six weeks with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right (shooting) elbow, the team announced Thursday. That will send the 10-year veteran out of Maryland to the trainer’s table just as Bryant, fresh off rehabilitating a torn Achilles, returned to the court this week.

In 21 games, all as a starter, Blake averaged 9.8 points and 7.7 assists per game. He deftly ran the Lakers’ surprisingly respectable offense, handing out more than three assists for every one turnover, good for the ninth-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league.

Bryant and Xavier Henry will share point guard duties in Blake’s absence.