The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Thomas Bryant underwent successful surgery on his thumb and will be reevaluated in three weeks by team doctors.
It’s unclear how Bryant hurt his thumb, so it was a surprise when the Lakers initially announced he would be out for their 2022-23 season opener against the Golden State Warriors.
It’s an early blow for the Lakers, who used the preseason to evaluate players and potential lineup to use during the regular season. Bryant was considered to be the team’s floor spacing center option, but now the team must wait to see if he can live up to that role.
Coming into the year, Bryant and Damian Jones were thought to be competing for the starting center job next to Anthony Davis but both bigs underwhelmed in the exhibition games. Head coach Darvin Ham then opted to explore smaller lineups with Davis at center, a look that might make more sense for the Lakers long-term given Bryant’s absence and Jones’ lack of production.
For Bryant, it’s not the start he envisioned when he decided to come back for a second stint with the team that drafted him back in 2017. The big man looked fully recovered from the ACL injury he sustained in 2020, and seemed like he could contribute right away for the Lakers. Aside from his outside shooting, the young center runs the floor hard in transition and that trait fits well with the current roster that’s much faster and more athletic than last year’s group.
For the time being, Ham will have to make do with the other big men on the roster. Davis should be heavily featured at center with players like Damian Jones and Wenyen Gabriel sprinkled in to spell him. Hopefully Bryant is able to come back sooner rather than later and help the Lakers rack up wins throughout the year.
Dennis Schroder to miss 3-4 weeks after undergoing thumb surgery
Like Bryant, Dennis Schroder will also miss time with a thumb injury. The Lakers initially feared Schroder would be out long-term with the injury, but they avoided potential disaster as he has been ruled out for 3-4 weeks.
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