We already knew that Dennis Schröder would be out when the Lakers took on the Miami Heat on Saturday night, but prior to that game, head coach Frank Vogel gave a more definitive update on his usual starting point guard’s status.
“The only thing I can tell you is health and safety protocols, Vogel said of the reason for Schröder’s continued absence, but add that the teams does “have a more firm timeline” now.
“It will be a minimum of the next three games. Tonight’s game (against the Heat) and the next two, and we’ll see after that,” Vogel said.
That would mean that — as long as Schröder is testing negative for the coronavirus — he could return to the lineup against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday after missing the Lakers’ Monday matchup with the Washington Wizards and Wednesday showdown with the Utah Jazz.
If Schröder does return then, that would mean that he would have missed four games total, which is consistent with the NBA’s contact tracing procedures that led to Alex Caruso missing the same number earlier this season despite never testing positive for the virus himself. That of course goes out the window if Schröder does test positive while in contact tracing — as some players have done this season — which would lead to him missing more time. And he is in contact tracing, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
"If he continues to do so, he will return Friday against the Blazers on ESPN."— NBA Insider Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) February 21, 2021
But with Schröder and Anthony Davis out, the Lakers are pretty short on playmaking, and they may struggle to find ideal solutions for that. Expect LeBron James to keep handling the ball a bit more, and for Alex Caruso to continue to play the primary back-up ballhandling role for the Lakers, with some opportunities for Talen Horton-Tucker and Kyle Kuzma mixed in, as we saw against the Brooklyn Nets. Even with all that, though, the Lakers may be in for a bit of a rough stretch until Schröder returns.