Okay, this is just getting comical. The two most dangerous jobs in sports, apparently, are “Los Angeles Lakers Point Guard” and “Minnesota Vikings Offensive Lineman”. According the the Lakers, an MRI showed a hamstring strain serious enough to declare Jose Calderon out for at least two weeks and up to a month.
This was always the risk when D’Angelo Russell received his PRP treatment, forcing Calderon into a role his body simply might not have been ready for at this stage of his career. Russell’s knee procedure was supposed to keep him out anywhere from two to three weeks, and today marks the two-week timeframe. The Lakers are going to run a couple tests before gametime to see how the knee took the procedure, and given Calderon’s impending absence, the results of this test hold just a little more weight.
If the tests come back with bad news and Russell needs to sit out longer than initially expected, it might be time to start wondering about potential moves to fill out that backcourt. As currently constituted, Marcelo Huertas, Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams make up the team’s options at point guard, with Brandon Ingram able to bring the ball up the court, but it’s hard to say whether he’s ready to fulfill all aspects of what is expected of a point guard.
So, what can be done to help fill out the roster? Well, here’s this from Larry Coon, master of the CBA:
A hardship can be deemed to exist when a team has four players who are sick or injured and have missed at least three games, and will continue to be unable to play. If a hardship is granted, the hardship ends when one of the sick or injured players is physically able to resume playing. The team must then release player(s) to get back to the roster limit, although teams have the option to retain the hardship player and release a different player to get back to the limit.
Right now, the Lakers don’t qualify, it just feels like they should because the injuries have occurred to players in the same position. In order to actually qualify, Calderon would need to have actually missed three games, Russell would have to remain out even longer, Larry Nance, Jr., would have to miss more time with his knee contusion and they’d have to incur another injury along the way. No one wants to see that.
So, it looks fairly simple: Russell’s tests tonight have to come back with some good news. From there, the remaining guys just have to tread water until guys get back. Fortunately, the Lakers operate with an offense that spreads the ball around anyway, so that helps mitigate against the dearth of actual point guards currently healthy on the roster.
Help probably can’t come from outside the roster, as the Lakers already have a full 15 players and can’t bring someone up from the D-League without waiving someone else. If we get an unfortunate update that guys will be out much longer than expected, that changes things, but there’s no point in exercising that option if we’re talking about a couple weeks of injury time.
Please, D’Angelo, please get some at least decent results from your tests tonight.