The Los Angeles Lakers have been in NBA bubble for more than two weeks now, but until recently they were without one member of their roster in Markieff Morris.
The veteran forward has since joined the team and after clearing quarantine protocols, has been practicing. However, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has held off on getting Morris minutes during scrimmages so far.
The Lakers played again Saturday, picking up a victory over the Orlando Magic, but Vogel decided keep Morris out. Vogel has been open about his desire to not overwork his team as they get going in Orlando, preferring to ramp things up as they move along for fear of injury. That goes for Morris as well, despite the forward’s desires otherwise.
“He’s ready to go. He wants to play, but it’s going to take some time,” Vogel said before Saturday’s game. “We’re just being intelligent. Each team makes their own decisions with their own player.”
That last statement is likely in regards to Morris’ brother Marcus, who of course is a member of the rival L.A. Clippers. Marcus played 19 minutes in his debut with the Clippers, but Vogel won’t be swayed by what any other team does.
“Each player has a different set of circumstances, even with Markieff and his brother. It’s a case-by-case thing,” Vogel noted. “He was willing to get in there for a few minutes to get his feet wet. We just felt like we’re going to wait one more game. We expect to see him in the Washington game.”
Vogel sticking to cautious plan
With Morris now in Orlando to join the Lakers, Vogel has his full roster in place to finish out the season. Morris only played in a handful of games before the season shut down, but could play a major role for the Lakers in the playoffs.
Despite his importance to the team Vogel has maintained a cautious plan is in place for Morris and won’t be adjusting it.
“Obviously, we’re going to be smart about building him up at the right pace. We don’t want to put him in a position to be injured. He has been out and not competing with the team for a while, sow we’ll just take it day by day and be intelligent with it.”
Morris was able to play eight games for the Lakers before the season was postponed, averaging just under 14.8 minutes. His size and physicality at the forward spot is something the Lakers will need in Orlando, but Vogel refuses to rush any player as they ramp things up.
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