Dennis Schroder is expected to play in his first 2022-23 game on Friday, officially starting his second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Schroder returned to L.A. one year after leaving the Purple and Gold for the Boston Celtics in free agency. Rumors of the 29-year-old’s potential comeback first started during the 2021-22 campaign when the Celtics looked to trade the German playmaker, but he eventually finished the season with the Houston Rockets.
The Schroder-Lakers reunion was finally formalized in August after the guard’s stellar performance at the 2022 EuroBasket. However, his 2022-23 season debut has been delayed by a thumb injury the guard suffered in the preseason. However, Schroder says the unexpected break from basketball might have been a blessing in disguise after a busy summer.
“I mean, I needed that break anyway,” he says. “I made the most out of it, you know… getting back to my weight, I had lost a lot of weight before, and I was sick a little bit. So I’m working on my strength on my thumb.
“Been working all week just to get my conditioning right, and I’m ready for tomorrow.”
Schroder adds he’s returning ahead of schedule thanks to a great effort from the team’s physicians. “It’s a lot of strength,” Schroder says of his rehab. “There are so many muscles in that finger that you can’t even imagine.
“Mo, our hand specialist, she’s done a great job just doing so many strength exercises and even lifting weights you have to do it a certain way. Been doing it now for 3 1/2 weeks. Normally that takes 4-6 weeks to recover. We’re ready for tomorrow and we feel good about it.”
Schroder returns to the court confident the Lakers can turn things around after a tough start to the season.
“We’re 3-10 right now, trying to flip the switch,” he says. ”We just got to be consistent in what we do. If we do that and play defense the same way we’ve been doing it, then we’ll be fine. Offensively, we have to fix the structure, and then we’ll be fine.”
Thomas Bryant to return alongside Schroder on Friday; LeBron James is questionable
Thomas Bryant is expected to make his season debut against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, coming back from a similar injury as Schroder.
Meanwhile, LeBron James is listed as “questionable” ahead of the game against the Pistons. However, head coach Darvin Ham said the 37-year-old has looked great in practice as he is nursing a strained adductor, the injury that has ruled him out of the last two Lakers games.
James could still play against the Pistons, depending on how he feels in the warm-up ahead of the clash.
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