The Los Angeles Angeles announced that in addition to a right knee contusion, forward Jared Dudley has been diagnosed with a right MCL tear. He is evaluating his treatment options and a timeline for his return will be given when appropriate.
This is yet another tough break for a Lakers team that has been playing short-handed for a majority of the season. With Anthony Davis just ruled out for at least another two weeks, the Lakers will have to continue to scrape by in the second half of the regular season.
They have also been without starting center Marc Gasol for the last couple weeks as he continues to be ruled out due to health and safety protocols. Additionally, Alex Caruso was just put into the league’s concussion protocol after taking a fall on his head in the second quarter of Friday night’s win over the Indiana Pacers. His timetable for a return is uncertain but there is a good chance he misses some time as well.
With three key rotation players out, Dudley would have given the Lakers a veteran body that can play spot minutes when needed. The short offseason has taken a toll on the 35-year-old though as he previously missed some games due to a calf injury and now suffered a significant knee injury that will keep him out for a while.
Considering the Lakers are now without four potential options with five games coming up this week, there is a good chance they use their open roster spot to add a player on a 10-day contract. With the trade and buyout deadlines coming up as well, there is some roster movement that can be expected as the Lakers to get ready to defend their title.
Even if Dudley is unable to play though he still brings value on the bench as one of the most respected voices in the locker room. Dudley was invaluable to the Lakers during their bubble run last year and will be key in helping them navigate through this adversity.
Davis beginning to build up activity
As far as the Lakers’ title chances go, the most important player they will have to get healthy is Davis. While he will be re-evaluated in two weeks, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel revealed that the hope is for him to begin ‘building up’ his activity during that time.
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