The start of 2023 has been a good one for the Los Angeles Lakers as they’ve managed to win their first two games of the new year.
Their recent win came against the Miami Heat and perhaps marked their most impressive victory of the 2022-23 season considering they did it without LeBron James. James was ruled out prior to the game due to a non-COVID illness, but several players stepped up in his absence.
Los Angeles was not only missing their stars, but also Lonnie Walker IV who has missed the past two games due to a tailbone contusion. Curiously enough, Walker was listed as out against the Heat on the injury report due to knee soreness but head coach Darvin Ham revealed he’s actually dealing with a bit of knee tendinitis.
“In terms of Lonnie, it’s just something that he discovered, he started having a little bit of problems, and it’s normal for a kid that plays the way he does athletically above the rim. Just running up and down the court, you’re gonna have a little bit of tendinitis, especially in the knee that you rely on heavily. So we’re just managing that and trying to bring him along slow in terms of him not causing any ripple effects from suffering from that issue.”
From Ham’s comments, it doesn’t sound like Walker will miss extended time though his absence will be missed, particularly on the offensive end where he’s been a solid shot-creator all season. The shooting guard has been one of the team’s most exciting and explosive players, but it appears those highlight reel plays are finally starting to take a toll on his body.
Without Walker, Ham will need to rely more on players like Austin Reaves, Dennis Schroder, and even Kendrick Nunn. All three guards stepped up in a big way against the Heat, but that trio will need to keep that level of production up in order to help the Lakers stay afloat in the short term.
Darvin Ham credits LeBron James for taking care of his body
James missing the matchup against his former team in Miami came as a surprise, but it’s the right approach as he’s been playing heavy minutes with Anthony Davis still out of the lineup.
However, even at age 38, James looks as spry as ever and Ham credited him for taking care of his body so he can play as much as he does.
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