The Los Angeles Lakers held Wesley Matthews out of the Sunday’s blowout win over the Houston Rockets due to a sore right Achilles tendon.
Injuries and soreness involving an Achilles are always a cause for concern, but this is especially true when dealing with a player who has already torn a tendon in the past. Matthews, who is 34 years old, ruptured his left Achilles in January of 2015 while playing with the Portland Trail Blazers.
He signed with the Dallas Mavericks that summer and was able to return to play within nine months without missing a beat. Despite the quick recovery, there will always be a concern surrounding the Achilles, especially as he gets older and racks up more mileage.
However, there is not a belief the latest trouble is related t that prior injury, even if it prompted the Lakers to to play it safe.
“I don’t think there’s a correlation. The medical team doesn’t think so. But early in the season, we’re going to be conservative with these types of flareups or whatever you want to call it,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said.
“He had some soreness in there that was enough of a concern to hold him out. We have a deep team, so we’re going to be responsible with things like that.”
For now, it is not believed that Matthews will not undergo any further examination. “I don’t believe so. They did not mention that to me. We’ll see how he is [Monday],” Vogel added.
The most likely scenario is the decision was done out of an abundance of caution. This is one of the things the Lakers have the flexibility to do by being one of the deepest teams in the NBA.
With Matthews out, the Lakers simply gave more minutes to Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker, both of whom responded with excellent performances.
Having an 11-man rotation filled with talent and various skillsets is a luxury only the top teams get to enjoy, but it means players like Matthews can sit games out simply because of soreness and the team won’t miss a beat. His status for Tuesday’s game against the Rockets remains unclear.
Matthews’ offense gets activated via his defense
Through the first 11 games of the 2020-21 season, Matthews is shooting 41% from 3-point range. It’s a productive average, but it’s not what Matthews wants to emphasize in his game. His shooting confidence comes from the defensive end.
“You live with that and just continue to build. But like I said, it’s the defensive end for me,” Matthews explained. “I just want to continue to get better on the defensive end, just understanding the way that we play and impact that with offense as well.”
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