The only consistent thing about the Los Angeles Lakers this season has been the team’s never-ending injury issues. It seems like every game there is another player forced to leave early and when one player returns to the lineup, another one is lost for one reason or another.
The great start to the season has now been forgotten as the Lakers fight to stay out of the play-in tournament. Furthermore, the team chemistry still has room to grow as the full roster has barely played together especially with the more recent additions of Andre Drummond and Ben McLemore.
Regardless of all of the ongoing issues, the team itself is refusing to make any excuses.
“I don’t know if we’ve got juju issues around here or something,” forward Kyle Kuzma said after the Lakers’ loss to the L.A. Clippers. “Every game it’s something different. We got injuries, mishaps and whatnot. At the end of the day, it’s just basketball and these things come. We just have to kind of do things on the fly. That’s just the cards that we’re dealt. In life, whatever cards you have, you have. You’ve got to figure out that within that. You can’t complain, you can’t dwindle and you can’t have excuses because it’s what we have.”
The latest Lakers issues have plagued the team’s primary playmakers. LeBron James re-aggravated his ankle and Dennis Schroder will likely miss the rest of the regular season due to health and safety protocols. Meanwhile, Talen Horton-Tucker is out with a calf strain leaving the team with just Alex Caruso as the only traditional point guard on the team.
All of that was before Anthony Davis left Thursday’s contest due to back spasms. But head coach Frank Vogel continues to push his team.
“We’re hanging in there, you know what I mean,” Vogel said. “No one’s feeling sorry for themselves. We know we got to be better, even under adverse circumstances. But the mid-game loss of Anthony was tough, we basically spent the last two days trying to figure out how we’re gonna be creative in making him the focal point and if he’s out we’re gonna have to adjust on the fly again.
“We didn’t adjust well enough but like I said, no one is feeling sorry for us, we’re not feeling sorry for ourselves and we have to be better competing through adverse circumstances.”
The Lakers’ contest with the Portland Trail Blazers may be the most important game of the season as it will decide the season series between the teams. Whoever wins will own the tiebreaker which could decide who stays out of the play-in.
No matter who is available for the Lakers, they will need everyone to perform at the best of their abilities going forward and simply hope that they can finally have everyone healthy when the playoffs begin.
James aiming to return to lineup next week
Obviously the main piece for the Lakers in terms of health is James, who didn’t finish his second game back after re-aggravating his sprained ankle. The hope is for James to return before the playoffs begin and that looks to be the plan for James as well.
It has been reported that the Lakers star is targeting a return to the lineup next week, which would give him three or four games to get up to speed ahead of the postseason. Every game matters at this point for the Lakers and James remains the catalyst for this team and its hopes for defending their championship.
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