Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said at practice on Saturday that Marc Gasol and Kostas Antetokounmpo would miss at least the next two games for the team under the league’s health and safety protocols.
“They’re not with us, and the only thing I can say timeline-wise is they won’t be with us for these two games, other than that, they’re just in the health and safety protocols, that’s sort of all I can say,” Vogel said. “For this back-to-back they will not be with us.”
Gasol has already missed the last three games (and two practices this week) in the health and safety protocols, while Antetokounmpo was only added prior to the team’s Thursday practice. That means Gasol will have missed at least five games in total, and would have missed even more — he’ll have been out two full calendar weeks by the end of this current timeline — had the All-Star break not been in the middle of this stretch.
For context, Alex Caruso and Dennis Schröder previously missed four games each for contact tracing. Gasol’s absence, by the end of the next two games — Monday against the Warriors and Tuesday against the Timberwolves — will have gone far longer, both in terms of games and in terms of time he’s missed. Schröder painted a less than rosy picture when I compared the two situations while asking him if anyone on the team had reached out to him, or if he or anyone else had reached out to Gasol to make him feel like they were a part of things still while they were out.
“I mean, I think the situation with Marc is even worse than mine,” Schröder said.
Additionally, Vogel said that Caruso — who missed the entire second half of the Lakers’ Friday night win against the Indiana Pacers after banging his head on the ground while diving to save a loose ball in the first, suffering what the team initially termed a head contusion — was still being evaluated. Caruso wasn’t put into the concussion protocol, but the team is still monitoring to see if he suffered one.
Update: The Lakers say Caruso suffered a concussion. Here is the statement from the team.
Lakers guard Alex Caruso, who left last night’s game vs. Indiana in the second quarter with a head contusion, has been diagnosed with a mild concussion. He has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol and updates will be provided when appropriate.
The Lakers are also still missing Anthony Davis, who is continuing to recover from Achilles tendinosis and a calf strain. The team said on Friday night that doctors cleared him for the next phase of his rehab and that they will re-evaluate him in two weeks, and Vogel gave the latest update on his progress on Saturday.
“It was more just strengthening and weights so far. I actually haven’t talked to the medical team about if he’s doing stuff on the court yet,” Vogel said. “There’s all these limitations right where when he came in earlier to lift, he can only do treatment and weights. You can’t do stuff on the court until all the PCR results are in. So he’s just going to — over the next few weeks — hopefully begin to build up to more activity.”
The Lakers will next play on Monday against the Golden State Warriors. With Gasol out, expect Damian Jones to get another start at center with Montrezl Harrell continuing to play a bigger role off the bench. If Caruso misses more time, Dennis Schröder will likely play an even larger role as a point-of-attack defender than he already does, with Talen Horton-Tucker also set to see a minutes bump.