These are rough days for Lakers fans. Very.

General Manager Mitch Kupchak, however, sounded at ease during a phone interview with The Times, going over a variety of topics on a team that can’t stay healthy, play defense or, seemingly, make the playoffs.

First things first. Kupchak is satisfied with Coach Mike D’Antoni, blaming the Lakers’ woes on injuries and saying D’Antoni is doing a “great job.”

“We’re happy with Mike,” Kupchak said Wednesday. “You can look back six weeks ago and say it’s exciting and we’re playing great. It’s hard to ignore the injuries but it was a fun game to watch when we were playing without Kobe [Bryant] and anticipating his return. In other words, ‘Wow, we’re playing this well now and Kobe has still yet to return and neither has [Steve] Nash?’ So we had high hopes.”
Kupchak wouldn’t comment on the chances of Pau Gasol still being with the team after the Feb. 20 trade deadline.

“My job is to be the caretaker of this team for this year and going forward,” Kupchak said. “And every move we make, depending upon the makeup of the team and your record at the time, has to be done with vision.

“Some years at the trade deadline, you’re 45-17, so you look for a different kind of pickup to shore up a weakness because you’re going for a championship that year. And then some years you may not have that kind of record and you have to look a year or two beyond that.
“I don’t know where we’re going to be six weeks from now and certainly we’re going through a very rough time right now but we’re going to monitor the team closely and look for opportunities to help the team either in the short run or the long term.”

Kupchak also didn’t question the recent two-year, $48.5-million contract extension given to Bryant, who sustained a fractured knee only six games after returning from a torn Achilles’ tendon.

“I am comfortable with the organization’s decision. His [second] injury was not the Achilles,” Kupchak said. “Maybe you’d be more open to criticism if he reinjured the Achilles but he didn’t. It’s a separate injury, completely unexpected.