Frank Vogel Happy To Be Back With Lakers After Missing Six Games With COVID
(Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

The month of December has been a rough one for the Los Angeles Lakers as they have had almost half the roster unavailable due to health and safety protocols.

With so many players missing games, the Lakers were forced to sign replacement players which led to some rough stretches. Aside from the players, Los Angeles also lost head coach Frank Vogel after he tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Vogel Vwas recently cleared from protocols and returned to the bench for Friday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Beforehand, he admitted he it was tough to be away from the team.

“It’s something I really never want to do again,” Vogel said. “I don’t think I’ve ever missed a game as a head coach, so to miss six was challenging. Obviously physically challenging for what I was going through, but mentally challenging as well.

“Being in isolation, trying to help your team and your staff as much as you can remotely, giving input but also trying to empower them to coach the team and use their gut and their instincts and the whole thing was challenging. I’m happy to be back.”

Vogel detailed how the virus affected him and he revealed that his symptoms were worse than others who have gotten it. “The first day that I tested positive, I had no symptoms so I actually was convinced it was a false positive because of how I felt and because we had had several of them. But the morning after the Chicago game, I definitely woke up with symptoms. Mostly headaches and a pretty severe cough.

“I don’t want to use the word severe, I didn’t ever reach the point where I was feeling like I was gonna be hospitalized or was in danger or anything like that, but to me, for my individual case, it definitely was not mild symptoms. I got pretty sick and you fight through it and you kind of hope it goes away, but it lingers. So thankfully I’m on the mend, I’m feeling a lot better and was able to get back home after a few days in Chicago. Came back to L.A., got into a hotel here so I didn’t bring it back to my family and spent about five more days in a hotel until I got it fully behind me.”

While it is unfortunate to hear Vogel had a tough go with COVID-19, the important thing is he is back with the Lakers and feeling healthy. Also, the team welcomed him back in style with a dominating win over Portland, so perhaps things are starting to turn around for Vogel’s squad.

Frank Vogel discusses LeBron James’ recent play and small-ball lineups

Even though Vogel was out for six games, the Lakers have looked better on the court thanks to LeBron James’ recent play and the use of smaller lineups. Vogel sounded pleased with the two developments and is looking forward to seeing the team can continue to improve.

“LeBron has been on a tear and hopefully we can keep that going. I think that we’ve been playing smaller is probably the biggest thing. It’s easy to just throw smaller guys out there and expect it to work, but there’s a lot of details that go into exectuing on both sides of the ball to perform well with the smaller lineups. Like I said, I was in all the meetings, coach’s meetings, I was Zoomed into all the team meetings and we continue to have a strong level of engagement with our players in how we’re growing this team.

“Obviously we’re not where we want to be with the standings, but we believe in what we’re building. We believe we have a chance to do something special this year. So just being a part of seeing that, the smaller lineups and how that has grown and how to be effective with those is the biggest thing.”

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