Prior to Sunday evening’s preseason contest against the Phoenix Suns, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel announced that Malik Monk would miss a week of action with a groin strain before being re-evaluated. With the Lakers’ final three preseason games coming over the next five days, that timeline will end Monk’s preseason.
Vogel did not have an update on the timeline for Talen Horton-Tucker, who was also listed on the injury report on Saturday and missed Sunday’s game.
Frank Vogel says Malik Monk will likely be out a week with a strained groin. THT is "going through the medical process" still— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) October 11, 2021
The week-long timeline will push up against the start of the regular season for Monk with the Lakers’ opener coming on Tuesday, Oct. 19. As of Sunday, though, Vogel said the team was optimistic that Monk would be available once the regular season started.
Vogel says Monk will be reevaluated in a week but they're hopeful he will be available for the opener— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) October 11, 2021
Monk has been a bright spot for the Lakers in an overall gloomy start to the preseason. The fifth-year guard averaged 12.7 points across the three outings, shooting 51.7% from the field and 47.1% from the 3-point line. After scoring 15 points in the team’s opener, he followed it up with 18 points against Brooklyn in the second game.
Coming into training camp and the preseason, Monk was one of a handful of guards expected to compete for a spot in the starting lineup in the backcourt alongside Russell Westbrook. In that regard, no player on the Lakers has done more to help his stock more than Monk.
However, missing out on the final week of training camp will likely put Monk behind the eight-ball in the race for a starting spot once the regular-season opener comes and certainly offers a bigger chance to the likes of Wayne Ellington, Kent Bazemore, Kendrick Nunn and, depending on his injury diagnosis, Horton-Tucker.
The good news for the Lakers is that during his time in Charlotte, and specifically in his breakout season last year, Monk excelled off the bench as a scoring option as he was able to provide a spark on many nights.
For now, the hope is the injury does not ruin the positive momentum he had built up in the preseason and is instead just a minor speed bump on the way to a big year for Monk and the Lakers.