The 2020-21 NBA season has reached the midway point of the year with the arrival of the All-Star break, but Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has cautioned the team to stay safe.
This season’s All-Star break comes as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread across the country. Many teams around the league have felt the impacts of game postponements and players missing games because of health and safety protocols that can lead to contact tracing.
Though the Lakers haven’t dealt with having any of their games postponed, they had to endure four games without Dennis Schroder because of health and safety protocols. On top of that, center Marc Gasol was a late scratch against the Phoenix Suns recently because of the protocols and was subsequently out for the game against the Sacramento Kings.
While players and staff have an opportunity to relax and regroup for the second half of the season, Vogel stressed the importance of the Lakers adhering to the safety guidelines during the break.
“Yeah, part of the message going into the break is to be mindful, still adhere to the protocols, get away as safely as possible and still be minimal in what types of things you’re doing away from the team. I don’t think anybody wants to get this virus and certainly no one wants to bring it back with them in our return. So that is part of the message.”
The Lakers will have representation during the All-Star Game as LeBron James is set to captain Team LeBron in his 17th-consecutive All-Star appearance.
Los Angeles would’ve had additional players dawning the Purple and Gold as Anthony Davis received his eighth-career All-Star selection, but lower-leg injuries have sidelined him for the time being.
Also, guard Alex Caruso received an invitation to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest, but the fan-favorite declined the opportunity.
James nursing sore ankle during All-Star break
James missed his first game of the season against the Kings, opting to sit out to obtain rest amidst a tough campaign.
James has been adamant about playing every game, but Vogel explained how the 18-year veteran is banged up heading into the break.
“We’ve had a mindset to encourage him to take a game off if needed and support him if he wants to be in there,” Vogel said. “He’s always said if his body feels good, he wants to play. He’s pretty banged up right now with the soreness in the ankle and we took this opportunity to keep him home this game.”
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