The Los Angeles Lakers are going to have to find ways to stay afloat the next few weeks as they’ll be without LeBron James.
The Lakers announced James was diagnosed with a right foot tendon injury and will be reevaluated in three weeks, meaning he will miss at least the team’s next nine games. Depending on where Los Angeles is in the standings at the time of his evaluation, he may or may not return for the 2022-23 season.
Aside from James, the Lakers have also been without D’Angelo Russell, who’s been nursing an ankle sprain. Before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Darvin Ham said Russell is making progress and they’re monitoring how he looks in simulated action.
“We set up some playgroups for him. We don’t want to have a guy go from not playing in an NBA game to throwing him back out there. There’s steps such as playgroups that we have to see how he responds to that, how his body responds to the ankle specifically and we’ll go from there. And he’s in the process of doing all that.”
Ham acknowledged that Russell began ramping up with the “stay ready” group on Friday, and then the guard was seen getting in some shooting work before the game against the Timberwolves.
Russell has been sidelined a little longer than expected considering the team didn’t seem too concerned about the injury. However, the training staff has been especially cautious with player injuries given the Lakers’ health the past few seasons so this seems in line with their general approach.
Los Angeles definitely misses Russell’s scoring and playmaking and that was especially evident in their most recent loss to the Timberwolves as they struggled to generate many good looks. Dennis Schroder was one of the few members on the roster able to get into the paint and create shots, so getting Russell back sooner rather than later would be a huge boost.
The next opportunity for Russell to return is this Sunday against another one of his former teams, the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have looked more like themselves the past week, so the Lakers could definitely use Russell in what should be another tough matchup.
Dennis Schroder says he’s willing to do anything for Lakers
Schroder has stepped up in a big way since James and Russell have been out, taking on lead guard duties as well as remaining aggressive as a scorer. L.A. was fortunate to avoid disaster when Schroder turned his ankle pretty badly against the Oklahoma City Thunder but remained in the game.
After his gutty performance, the guard said he is willing to do anything to help the Lakers win games.
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