The Los Angeles Lakers are set to open the 2016-17 regular season on Wednesday night against former coach Mike D’Antoni, James Harden, and the Houston Rockets. The Lakers made it through the preseason relatively unscathed as far as injuries, with one slight exception in point guard Jose Calderon.
After a pretty impressive start to the preseason, Calderon strained his calf and wound up missing the final three games, though it never seemed as if he was in any danger to miss any time in the regular season.
That is no longer the case as head coach Luke Walton announced that Calderon will not play in the Lakers season opener according to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
Luke said Calderon is definitely out tomorrow. Mozgov and Deng will play
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 25, 2016
It seems as if Calderon’s calf injury is slightly worse than originally believed. This is unfortunate for the Lakers as Calderon had developed a great chemistry with his bench group.
The lineup of Calderon, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Tarik Black was extremely effective during the preseason and oftentimes dug the Lakers out of a hole that the starters got them in. Walton will now have to figure out exactly what he wants to do in Calderon’s absence.
The most obvious would be Marcelo Huertas taking those minutes as he has had his time with that bench lineup as well. Walton has also experimented with some non-traditional lineups that have seen Lou Williams be the ‘point guard’ while the rookie Ingram worked as the primary ball-handler.
Nonetheless, it is important for Calderon to get 100 percent healthy as injuries like this can linger on and affect his play for a long time and that is the last thing the Lakers need.