Lakers Hopeful Dennis Schroder Returns Against Blazers
Dennis Schroder
Bart Young-NBAE

The Los Angeles Lakers are enduring a tough spell, suffering four straight losses that have coincided with the absences of Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder.

Head coach Frank Vogel pointed out L.A. was in an adjustment period trying to cope with the loss of two of the team’s starters. The Lakers are bracing themselves for a longer stint without Davis as his initial return timeline has been extended and the forward is expected to miss around three more weeks due to Achilles and calf strains.

However, Schroder could clear the NBA’s health and safety protocol — which kept him out of the last three games — in time for Friday’s clash against the Portland Trail Blazers. “It’s still possible that he plays Friday. We’re still hopeful that he clears the protocols,” Vogel said.

He added Schroder’s return would provide the Lakers with a significant energy boost on both ends of the floor. “Dennis carries a big load for us,” Vogel said. “He’s a big-minutes guy that really moves the needle for us on the defensive end with his containment and pressure.

“It sets the tone for us. And obviously the versatility he brings to the table offensively with the ability to bring the ball up and have another ballhandler alongside ‘Bron but also carry the scoring load as well.”

Schroder is averaging 14.2 points, 4.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds this season. He’s emerged as L.A.’s driving force with his hustle and pace — which the Lakers have particularly missed during their current losing streak.

Vogel ‘looking for opportunities’ to rest LeBron

LeBron James has been under an extra workload without Davis and Schroder by his side. In the recent overtime loss to the Washington Wizards, the 36-year-old again spent more than 40 minutes on the court.

James is yet to miss a game this season even though he was initially expected to ease into the 2020-21 campaign. But Vogel said he is hoping the four-time NBA champion will eventually be able to take a night off. “We’re always looking for opportunities to make sure we give LeBron appropriate rest,” Vogel said.

“After the All-Star break we still don’t know what the schedule looks like, but hopefully they build in some appropriate time for those guys to get their legs under them and get the rest that the guys who aren’t in the All-Star Game are going to get.”

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