JaVale McGee has been listed by the Los Angeles Lakers as missing their last three games with “flu-like symptoms,” but it sounds like things were actually a lot worse than that. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, McGee was actually “hospitalized for three days because of pneumonia and was discharged Saturday.”
That’s obviously horrible, but the good news is that McGee told Haynes that he’s feeling “a little better” and that while he’s proud of the way his teammates have rallied in his absence, he’s REALLY hoping he can be back for the Lakers by the time they face the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day:
“Of course, that’s the only thing, the only game I’ve been thinking about while being bedridden is the Christmas Day game,” McGee told Yahoo Sports. “No offense to the other teams, but that’s really important to me. I’ve got to get better for that game. That’s the homecoming, the ring ceremony. It’s really important.”
McGee getting the ring he earned last year is important, no doubt, but what’s more important is his health, aside from any basketball implications. Pneumonia is a dangerous illness, and thankfully it sounds like the medical staff caught it in time and that McGee is going to be okay.
Him being back and able to play by Tuesday still seems doubtful due to the effect pneumonia usually has on one’s respiratory abilities, but McGee did play against the Charlotte Hornets while ill, so maybe he’ll be able to go. Hopefully everyone — including McGee — just exercises an abundance of caution and makes sure he’s actually okay before throwing him back out on the floor, however.
For as long as McGee is out, the Lakers will likely continue to lean on Ivica Zubac, Tyson Chandler and (to some degree) Moe Wagner, with potentially a little small-ball center for Kyle Kuzma mixed in.
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