Early in his NBA career, undrafted rookie Austin Reaves has developed a reputation for staying close to point guard Rajon Rondo, attempting to pick the veteran’s brain as much as possible. It turns out that habit even extends to the training table, as both Reaves and Rondo were added to the Lakers’ injury report before the team’s Wednesday matchup with the Miami Heat with the very same injury: A pair of left hamstring strains.
Reaves’ is evidently more serious, as the team announced on Thursday morning that he will miss at least the next two weeks before being reevaluated by the team’s medical staff. This was a somewhat surprising update, as before the team’s game against the Heat on Wednesday, head coach Frank Vogel said both injuries are considered “minor,” and that they’d be day-to-day moving forward.
“I don’t know exactly when in the last game they happened, but both reported soreness afterwards that required them to be out tonight,” Vogel said pregame.
#Lakers injury update:— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) November 11, 2021
- Reaves full timeline will depend on severity of the injury.
- Grade 1 typically looking at 10-14 days (so if he’s cleared at reevaluation)
Grade 2 typically looking at 3-4 weeks total https://t.co/VbPXZxfC0n
Reaves and Rondo joining the Lakers’ list of walking wounded adds to the team’s growing injury issues, and while neither is normally irreplaceable, the team doesn’t exactly have a whole lot of depth right now to absorb more hits.
For as long as Reaves is out, the Lakers — who are already without LeBron James, Kendrick Nunn and Talent Horton-Tucker — will have Davis, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Carmelo Anthony as the only healthy players who are taller than 6’4, leaving an already small team even thinner on wing-adjacent players. And this isn’t even an issue with the team being “old.” Other than Malik Monk (23), every single player on this team under the age of 28 is now hurt.
Rondo, meanwhile, was key in the team’s Monday win over the Hornets, and with James sidelined, Rondo being out leaves the Lakers with Russell Westbrook as their only true point guard. While Rondo has not been good for the Lakers in every game this season, the reality is they do need someone to run offense off the bench. In his stead, Malik Monk and Anthony Davis will run the offense some while Westbrook sits, which actually led to surprisingly great results on Wednesday.
Normally this is where we’d write about who will play more with these guys out, but in this case, the answer to that is “everybody,” as their absences leave the Lakers with just an eight-man rotation, not counting two-way players Sekou Doumbouya and Jay Huff.
In short, the Lakers are going to be even thinner than usual moving forward, and hopefully this is just the team showing an abundance of caution with their promising rookie.
This story may be updated with more information.