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LeBron James and Alex Caruso discuss how they’re trying to stay in shape without access to practice facilities

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LeBron James and Alex Caruso are having to get creative to stay ready for when the Lakers return from the coronavirus stoppage.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

With no access to practice facilities since the NBA made the decision to shut them all down, Lakers players have had to get creative with their efforts to stay in shape during the league’s coronavirus quarantine.

During a podcast appearance together, JaVale McGee said he’s running around a park close to his house, while Danny Green revealed that he’s lifting paint cans and looking at home gym options.

Their teammate, LeBron James, has a bit more space to work with at his Brentwood mansion, but he detailed that — for a variety of reasons — it hasn’t necessarily much less of a struggle for him to get his work in at the level he’s accustomed to during a conversation on the “Road Trippin” podcast:

“I will be allowed to work with Mike, my personal trainer Mike Mancias, again on Monday, which will be the two weeks away from everybody’s quarantine that they put us on after we were all tested after we found out the Nets had four guys that tested positive [for coronavirus].

“I’ve just been training five days a week, and just staying ready... A lot of basketball gyms are not open, so you can’t get in there.... There’s guys that can’t get on the court right now, and there’s guys that don’t have gyms in their cribs. So all the Equinox’s, all the 24-Hour Fitnesses, all that shit is shut down right now. So guys gotta figure it out.

“If guys are really serious, you can get some shit done around the house. Everybody got stairs for sure. Everybody can do push-ups, sit-ups... I’m working out in the morning, and then sometimes at night I’m sitting around and I’m like ‘fuck, I’m gonna go get me another workout in.’ It’s like ‘I Am Legend’ right now, man.”

One of James’ Lakers teammates, Alex Caruso, is putting that kind of creativity to use with his own workouts, which he discussed in a Q&A with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:

I do workouts at home in my garage ... it’s pretty old school. Just a bunch of body weight stuff, some jump rope, and I have a good hill by me that I run up and down.

The physical equipment I have at my house is: four NBA basketballs; a jump rope and a multitude of resistance bands. I’m considering getting some free weights, but you can get done what you need to do with dribbling a basketball and using some resistance. It’s just a different lift. Everybody knows the normal use of weights, getting on a squat rack, or grabbing dumbbells. This is the same thing but just using a band. With the basketball, just maxing out dribbles by pounding the ball with resistance and the muscles react after a whole bunch of reps. The biggest thing about now is that nobody is going to be where they were at when we stopped playing. It’s about staying as close to normal as you can.

What about mixing in push ups and sit ups?

Yeah of course, of course. It’s nothing that I create. I get a text from one of our strength coaches to go through the workout and it’s pretty simple. Body-weight lunges. Pushups. A couple sets of abs, then some type of cardio, which for me is jump rope. It’s pretty efficient, because I’m not a big running fan, which is hard to believe for a basketball player, but I just don’t love the cardio. Jump rope is more of an aerobic workout than just straight running.

As has been discussed ad nauseam in this space and elsewhere, those kinds of workouts are not a substitute for NBA basketball. And while it’s been popular to point out that this type of time off might be good for James to recover from the groin injury that has been nagging him at times, he said on “Road Trippin” that he actually feels that this unexpected stoppage is more of a detriment to his body:

“So we’ve been off a week and half now... I think [we would need] maybe one and a half, two weeks of a mini training camp, and then five to ten games... to get ready for the playoffs. If we’re just talking about finishing the regular season, then you don’t need that much. You could do a week of training camp and then get back in to it.

“But when you’ve been building six months of conditioning and preparation and then [it’s gone], like, the thing, the narrative that I don’t like [is], ‘Well, now guys get so much rest.’ Or, like, ‘LeBron, he’s 35, he’s got so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest.’ It’s actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ ... My body was like, ‘Hey man, what the hell is going on? It’s March 13, you’re getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?’

“And I was right there turning the corner, like, I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason. So the rest factor, I think it’s a little bit overblown. Especially when you’re in the full swing of things. It’s different than the whole lockout year that we had. That year we had the whole offseason, plus we was playing basketball. We were playing basketball still... It’s a lot different.”

Jared Dudley reiterated on Twitter that he thinks it would take even longer than James suggests for the Lakers and other teams to get set to play again after this delay:

So... yeah. This is going to be among the many big questions facing the league when it’s deciding when the season can resume. The NBA will have to make sure that all of its players are able to get back up to speed first so that they don’t risk unnecessary injuries, and it sounds like the players think that process would take some time. How much of that the league has will depend on the containment efforts being made against this virus, and how much they’re willing to modify next season to save this one.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.