Over the weekend, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Lakers guard Dennis Schröder had been put into the NBA’s health and safety protocols due to contact tracing, and not because of a positive coronavirus test. He added that if Schröder continued to test negative, he would be able to return to the Lakers for their Friday game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The team has publicly played it more coy than that when it comes to Schröder’s status due to league rules about medical disclosures surrounding the health and safety protocols, but Lakers head coach Frank Vogel did acknowledge on Wednesday that Schröder is on track to potentially return against the Blazers.
“It’s still possible that he plays Friday, we’re still hopeful that he clears the protocols,” Vogel said succinctly.
Here is the injury report for them and the Blazers pic.twitter.com/yXqFq2ao85— NBA Insider Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) February 26, 2021
That’s good news for the Lakers, because on the season, they’re literally winless (0-4) without Schröder. Their offense is nearly 10 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court (114) than it is when he sits (104.6), according to NBA.com. That’s the highest swing on the team of any player other than Anthony Davis, and basically the difference eighth-ranked Phoenix Suns and 30th-ranked Oklahoma City Thunder.
Obviously there is larger context to those metrics with Davis also missing time right now and the Lakers’ overall fatigue, but the numbers — and just watching the Lakers without him — in conjunction with their four-game losing streak while he’s out indicate that Schröder is very important to this team.
“Dennis carries a big load for us. He’s a big-minute guy that really moves the needle for us on the defensive end with his containment and pressure. That sets the tone for us,” Vogel said. “Obviously the versatility he brings to the table offensively to bring the ball up and have another ballhandler alongside LeBron but also carry the scoring load as well, I think we missed him on both sides of the ball.”
As long as Schröder continues to test negative today and tomorrow, the Lakers will have him available again soon.