The Los Angeles Lakers have been dealt blow after blow this season when it comes to injuries, with Carmelo Anthony being one of the latest.
Anthony was one of only two players to stay healthy for the first half of the season, although that changed in recent weeks when he first missed a few games with a minor back injury and then went down on Feb. 3 with a hamstring injury.
While Anthony missed the Lakers’ last five games, the All-Star break came at a perfect time as it allowed him time off to get the hamstring back to 100%.
Now, Anthony is expected to return to action on Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers in the Lakers’ first game back from the break.
After being a full participant in Thursday’s practice and Friday’s shootaround, Anthony discussed how his hamstring is feeling.
“It’s been a little difficult dealing with the fact that there’s nothing you can do,” Anthony said. “Your body is going to tell you… I feel much better, I feel a lot better. At practice yesterday, nothing lingering. Felt good today in shootaround.”
Getting Anthony back for the home stretch of the season is big for the Lakers, who currently sit in ninth place in the West at 27-31 and are fighting for a playoff spot.
While things haven’t gone as planned this season, Anthony believes the team is primed to make a run in the second half.
“I think we’re built for it,” he said. “We’re built for the second half of the season. I think we’re built for the postseason. Just things that we can’t control. I think now, the second half of the season, but not the second half of the season, there’s 26 games left, so it’s the tail end of the season. It’s definitely something where we have to change our approach.”
If the Lakers are going to turn things around then it will have to start on Friday night against the Clippers considering their in-city rivals are directly above them in the standings at 30-31.
Vogel discussed importance of Clippers game
There’s no doubt the Lakers players understand the importance of starting out the second half well as that was one of Vogel’s messages to them over the last couple days.
“It’s important. We want to come out of the gates playing as well as we can, we have a lot of ground to make up,” Vogel said of the Lakers’ place in the playoff picture.
“So definitely the fact that it’s against one of the teams that we want to catch in the standings, definitely makes it more important.”
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