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Update: Alex Caruso to return against Hornets

Alex Caruso is good to go for when the Lakers take on the Hornets on Thursday.

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers

Update No. 2: Alex Caruso was originally ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Hornets, but the Lakers announced this morning that he has actually cleared concussion protocol and can return to the floor.

Original story follows.

Alex Caruso has missed the last two games due to a concussion he suffered against the Indiana Pacers. In total, he’s missed 10 games for the Los Angeles Lakers this season because of injuries, which is more than he missed through 64 games last season.

The Lakers have managed with Talen Horton-Tucker and Wesley Matthews soaking up the minutes behind Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but they’ve missed the energy that Caruso consistently brings to the second unit. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be out for too much longer.

After the Lakers’ win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, Frank Vogel provided an encouraging update on the player he once dubbed his “secret weapon.”

“He’s still on track,” Vogel said. “I’m not sure of the exact details, but each day you have to increase your activity level and then monitor symptoms, is sort of how the return to play protocol works with concussions, so his on-court work was just part of that return to play protocol ... (he’s) still on track as of right now, yeah, but he still has to pass certain tests to be cleared.”

Prior to being placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol, Caruso was starting to break out of the shooting slump that he hit at the beginning of February. Through his first 10 games in February, Caruso shot 4-24 from behind the arc. In the four games he played after, he made five of his 10 attempts from 3-point territory. For the season, he’s shooting 40% from deep while averaging a career-high 2.3 3-pointers per game.

Horton-Tucker has made a case for more minutes in Caruso’s absence, particularly in his last two games, but Caruso will always have a role on this team because of his ability to defend the perimeter and make high IQ plays for his teammates. The Lakers will be happy to have him back.

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