The Los Angeles Lakers have avoided major injuries to begin the 2020-21 campaign despite health worries caused by the historically short offseason.
Thus far, Jared Dudley has been the player who spent the most time on the sidelines due to a calf injury. The 35-year-old forward has been inactive since a 117-115 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 8. “I’ve had a couple minor, minor, minor setbacks,” he explained.
“It’s called old age at 35, where I’ve played a little 3-on-3, 4-on-4, felt good. Did some sprints afterward and it tightened up a little bit.”
Dudley said he was “pain-free” ahead of the 114-93 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday but cautioned it could take him another week to make his return. And the veteran added that the lack of practice time caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) health protocols prolonged his recovery.
“Now I’m trying to slowly build back up,” he said. “Let’s just be honest, we can’t even practice. This is our first practice in what, two and a half or three weeks? So the only thing I’m doing is calf raises, ellipticals, and running.
“So it’s been slower than expected. That’s what happens when you get a little bit older.”
Despite grappling with the nagging calf injury for a month, Dudley appeared not too overwhelmed by his absence. “The good thing about it, they don’t need me,” he quipped.
Dudley clarifies book comments on Paul George
Dudley joked he was asked to conduct a media interview for the first time in a while only because he recently published a book about the Lakers’ triumphant journey in the Orlando bubble.
The forward made the headlines with his take on Paul George . Dudley called the L.A. Clippers star’s statements on the title race and the rivalry with their Los Angeles rivals “disrespectful.”
However, Dudley clarified he only meant to say that George’s comments motivated the Lakers more than those of his teammates. “My comments were more about how we viewed it’s motivation,” he said.
“Paul George is a helluva player, MVP candidate. What he said wasn’t wrong.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!