Dennis Schröder was a late scratch for the matchup between the Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night due to the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and the team has preemptively declared him out for their Saturday showdown with the Miami Heat under the same vague designation. Kyle Kuzma (back strain) and Markieff Morris (right ankle sprain) have additionally been added to the injury report, although both are probable.
Anthony Davis (right calf strain and Achilles tendinosis) is still out, as expected, and LeBron James is again probable with the same left ankle sprain he’s been dealing with since the second game of the season. Two-way player Kostas Antetokounmpo (right knee patellar tendinitis), has also been upgraded from out to probable, a change from the last several weeks.
Schröder being declared out means the Lakers got at least a little more clarity on his situation than they had right after practice on Friday, when head coach Frank Vogel said he still wasn’t sure how long his starting point guard would be out.
“It’s still uncertain what the timeline is going to look like. For now all I can really tell you is that due to health and safety protocols he’s still out. He was not here at practice today and there is no timeline,” Vogel said.
Pressed on if there was a chance Schröder could play against the Heat, Vogel doubled down.
“There’s no timeline. That’s still uncertain,” Vogel said.
We now know that the answer is “no,” but not much else, as it is still unknown what led to Schröder being held out. His fellow guard, Alex Caruso, missed four games earlier this year for contact tracing, even though he never tested positive for the coronavirus, while Lakers trainer Nina Hsieh missed a matter of hours in her own absence, so these timelines can vary wildly depending on the league medical team’s judgement.
If Schröder had tested positive, it seems likely that at least a few teammates or other staffers would be out for contact tracing, but that assumption doesn’t necessarily preclude him from a) a positive test or b) testing positive later because of the opacity of the league’s protocols, so it’s hard to even offer up any kind of estimate on when he may come back to play, especially if Vogel is saying he has no idea. The league is protecting the medical privacy of its players, but it results in a lot of uncertainty for those on the outside.
So stay tuned, but the Lakers will be without their starting point guard for at least one more game, and could be missing a few other players too if their injuries worsen overnight or the team decides to play things safe.
The Lakers and Heat will tip-off on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. PT at Staples Center. The game will be televised exclusively on ABC.
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