After undergoing an MRI on Thursday night, Avery Bradley has been diagnosed with a hairline fracture in a non-weight bearing bone in his right leg, the Los Angeles Lakers announced on Friday. Bradley will be re-evaluated in 1-2 weeks.
Bradley has already missed one game for the Lakers this season with a right leg contusion he suffered against the San Antonio Spurs. He was originally listed as probable for Friday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings with the same injury, but it seems the discomfort was getting too much for him to bear, so he was re-tested, which was how this injury was discovered:
Bradley’s injury is an extension of the injury he suffered in San Antonio. At the time the X-Ray revealed no fracture, but his leg was still bothering him so they did a follow up MRI.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 15, 2019
Bradley has started 10 out of the 10 games he’s been available for the Lakers this season. While there were initial concerns about how much he’d offer the team after unsuccessful stops with the Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies, he’s solidified himself as one of the key role players on the team.
In 10 starts, Bradley has averaged 9.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He’s also posting a positive defensive box plus-minus (+0.9) for the first time since the 2012-13 season, according to Basketball Reference.
Bradley’s shooting percentages could be better, especially from 3-point range — where he’s shooting 28.6%, including 31.8% on wide open 3-point attempts — but he’s made the right reads so far and has been a good cutter, making 80.7% of his shot attempts from within 10 feet, according to NBA.com. He’s also shot surprisingly well from above the break, making 46.2% of his 13 3-point attempts from that range.
When Bradley was sidelined earlier this month, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel started Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in his place, but Caldlwell-Pope is currently dealing with an injury of his own and is listed as questionable for Friday’s game. If Caldwell-Pope can’t give it a go, Vogel should strongly consider starting Alex Caruso.
Caruso offers a lot of the same things that make Bradley attractive with the second unit offensively and he doesn’t take anything away from the first unit defensively. In fact, Caruso has the highest defensive rating (93.8) of anyone on the team that has played more than one game.
The relationship Rajon Rondo has with LeBron James and Anthony Davis might ultimately tip the scales in his favor, but Rondo’s playmaking is more needed in the second unit than in the first with James. Hopefully Vogel recognizes that and gives Caruso his first start of the season.
An update on Bradley, Caldwell-Pope and the starting lineup will likely be given at shootaround. Stay tuned for updates.