Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Zoom after the team’s Monday practice that JaVale McGee was questionable to play in the third game of the Western Conference semifinals with a sprained left ankle, but according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, McGee will play.
Yahoo Sources: MRI on the left ankle of Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee came back negative and he will play tonight against the Houston Rockets.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) September 8, 2020
Vogel also revealed that Dion Waiters would be getting further testing for his strained groin Monday afternoon, and after that was done, the team officially listed Waiters as doubtful for Tuesday’s game.
McGee is averaging 4.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 12.5 minutes per game in the playoffs so far, the least playing time of any Lakers starter. If he does not start due to this injury, the Lakers will have to make significant changes to their rotation, despite his minimal playing time. Should he be too limited to start the game, expect either Dwight Howard to start, or Anthony Davis to move up to center in the starting unit with another wing joining him as the Lakers go small.
Waiters hasn’t played much, and has only appeared in five of the Lakers’ seven playoff games so far. He’s averaging 2 points on 33.3% shooting in 7.6 minutes per appearance. Should he miss this one, it likely will only minimally impact the Lakers’ rotation. There is a chance it leads to some spot minutes for J.R. Smith or Quinn Cook instead of Waiters, but given his minimal burn, whatever time he would have played may just be made up with guys that were already in the rotation seeing more time on the floor.
The Lakers and Rockets will play Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 6:00 p.m. PT. It will be broadcast on TNT.