For the second season in a row, the injury bug hit the Los Angeles Lakers in the preseason, delaying the season debuts of important role players.
While Troy Brown Jr. only missed the first two games of the 2022-23 campaign with a back issue, thumb surgery sidelined both Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant for a month. Their absence contributed to L.A.’s poor 3-10 start to the season, limiting head coach Darvin Ham’s options to kickstart the team’s stuttering offense.
But both Schroder and Bryant are expected to return to the court on Friday as the Lakers host the Detroit Pistons after a four-day break. Bryant says going through rehab with the German guard helped the 25-year-old center through ups and downs on the way to recovery.
“It was good to have someone you could talk to,” Bryant says. “Feed off the same energy and go through the same injury. Throughout the rehab it was the same mishaps, same up and down. Just basic things that you go through in surgery and everything.
“It was good to have someone who knows what you are going through.”
Bryant says he doesn’t remember when exactly he injured the thumb in his left hand. “But I do remember going up, you know, allowing nothing easy,” he says. “And I remember shaking my hand because it hurt.
“It was the only time I remember it, but I don’t remember exactly when the injury itself happened. For a while they said I was playing through it, so I didn’t notice till now.”
Bryant adds he could only use his right hand for about two weeks after surgery before incorporating his left hand into basketball workouts.
Schroder feels ‘ready’ for season debut; says Bryant & he return ahead of schedule
Schroder says he feels “ready” for the game with the Pistons after working on his conditioning over the last week. The 29-year-old guard adds Bryant and him are returning ahead of schedule thanks to a stellar effort from the Lakers physicians.
“It’s a lot of strength,” Schroder says of their 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.”
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