Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been an iron man throughout his first three seasons with the team. However, a sprained left ankle has now held him out of four consecutive games, the longest stretch of his Lakers tenure.
There are several factors to why he has taken multiple games off for a mildly sprained ankle. Given Caldwell-Pope’s importance to the team, it’s possible they want to be safe so that he is at full strength upon returning.
L.A. also has the benefit of an extremely deep rotation, allowing for players to take their time recovering without the team really missing a beat. The Lakers are 3-1 in Caldwell-Pope’s absence.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel assured that Caldwell-Pope’s return will happen sooner rather than later, and more specifically should come Sunday against Houston Rockets.
“Still sore. We’re hopeful this is the last game that he misses. He’s turned the corner, he’s getting close,” Vogel said. “Two more days, with missing [Friday’s] game and the off day, hopefully we’ll have him ready for the Houston game.”
Having Caldwell-Pope back against the Rockets would be a huge bonus, as the Lakers perimeter and help defense has struggled with one of their top guards on the sideline. Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso, who are undoubtedly the best two perimeter defenders on the team, have played in just four games together so far this season.
Caldwell-Pope should also reclaim his spot in the starting lineup alongside Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Of five-man lineups that have played in at least five games and 50 total minutes together, this Lakers starting unit ranks second in net rating and first in offensive rating.
Davis was ’50-50′ before sitting out vs. Bulls
Prior to the Lakers close win over the Chicago Bulls, Davis was considered questionable. He wound up not playing, and Vogel said the decision was essentially a game-time decision. “He was about 50-50,” Vogel explained.
“He wanted to see how it felt, and it was sore today and tight. He wanted to see how it felt when he started moving around on the court, and it didn’t really loosen up. It’s a cause for concern and we wanted to make sure we play it safe, so he’s not going to be in tonight.”
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