The Lakers already knew they would be missing Anthony Davis for their nationally televised showdown with the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night, but about an hour before the game, head coach Frank Vogel found out there would be another starter missing for his team, as Dennis Schröder was being held out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Even after the game, he still had no idea when Schröder could return.
“I don’t know, to be honest right now,” Vogel said. “I can’t say anything with clarity on how soon he’ll be back.”
He did, however, get a bit more clarity on Davis, who he previously said would likely be missing through at least the All-Star break with his calf strain and re-aggravated Achilles tendinosis.
“He was re-evaluated tonight actually,” Vogel said. “It just confirmed a calf strain. He’s going to be out for four weeks, we’re going to try and put this fully behind him and be conservative with it to just be sure it’s fully healed before he’s back.”
A Lakers spokesperson later clarified to reporters that Vogel’s timeline was just an estimate that included time for Davis to ramp-up and return to play, but it’s worth noting that four weeks would leave Davis out until 11 days after the All-Star Game on March 7. The league has not released it’s post All-Star schedule for teams yet, but they are expected to begin playing within three days of the game, so Davis would miss at least all the games until the break and a few more if this timeline holds.
In terms of Thursday’s ugly loss to the Nets, the Lakers knew they would be without Davis regardless. But losing a starter in Schröder an hour before tip-off obviously disrupted their game plan to a degree, although they tried not to use it as too much of an excuse.
“Obviously it has a great impact,” Vogel said. “He’s one of our best on-ball defenders. I was really looking forward to the matchup between he and Kyrie on both ends of the ball. And when you’re playing against a switch-everything defense, Dennis’ ability to break down his man and get into the pain is more needed against an opponent like this than anyone.
“But we had plenty of firepower to get the job done. We just didn’t play well enough.”
LeBron James felt similarly, saying that it was hard to take too much away from the game because both teams were missing key players
“It’s never a ‘move on, flush it.’ I’m going to rewatch the game,” James said. “You can always find ways to get better no matter who’s in the lineup.
“We just didn’t play to our capabilities tonight. Give them credit.”
Given that they still aren’t fully certain when either Schröder or Davis will return, the Lakers have to come up with a way to play a lot better with or without them. If they can’t, they’ll be sitting around giving a lot more teams credit after not playing up to their own potential.
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