One of the first moves the Los Angeles Lakers made once free agency began was coming to terms with center Timofey Mozgov on a four-year, $64 million contract. While most believe the Lakers overpaid for Mozgov, he fit a major need, and head coach Luke Walton is very high on what he will bring to the team.
Last season, Mozgov’s play was hampered by injuries as he rushed back from knee surgery and never regained his previous form. Unfortunately for Mozgov and the Lakers, it looks as if he will be dealing with another injury before this season as well.
According to Match TV, while playing for the Russian National Team, Mozgov injured his groin in the second quarter of a friendly against Ukraine:
“Center of the Russian national team Timofey (Mozgov) injured his groin muscle in the second quarter of the friendly match with Ukraine, continuing at this moment in Tbilisi […] The degree of severity of the damage will be known later.”
Hopefully, this turns out to be just a minor injury as it would be pretty bad for the Lakers to lose one of their biggest offseason additions before the season even begins. Mozgov is expected to be the anchor of the Lakers’ defense and a veteran presence in the locker room. Losing him for any significant time this early would be a tough blow for Los Angeles.
If Mozgov has to miss an extended period of time, it would likely be rookie Ivica Zubac and third-year veteran Tarik Black battling to step into his expected starting role. Of course, Walton could also choose to go small and have Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle play together, something Nance would love to happen.
Of course, nothing is known yet, and this could be an entirely minor injury that Mozgov will recover from in a couple of days. For the Lakers’ sake, they are undoubtedly hoping for that to be the case.