The Los Angeles Lakers will be without three starters when they take on the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night and unfortunately for them, it sounds like it won’t be the last time they’ll be missing three starters this week.
Before the Lakers and Suns tipped off on Sunday, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said that Marc Gasol, who’s missed five of the last six games due to NBA health and safety protocols, will be sidelined a few more games despite the fact that he was cleared to play on Saturday.
“He’s clear from protocols, but he was pretty wiped out from a conditioning standpoint, so he’s not ready to play in games out,” Vogel said. “We’re going to take it day-to-day with him, but it’s likely that he’s still going to miss a couple more games.”
Vogel also reaffirmed James’ indefinite status, saying he doesn’t expect him to back in the lineup anytime soon.
“It’s a high ankle sprain,” Vogel said. “Those things take a while to heal. They’re slow recoveries and we’re prepared for us to be without him, basically, we’re just saying indefinitely. But until we feel like he’s ready to be back, our group’s got to be prepared to win games without him and without AD.”
With just Davis out, the Lakers were able to win games without having to mess with their rotation too much, but with James, Davis and Gasol out and Jones no longer with the team, Vogel will more than likely be forced to start one or both of Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell, the latter of whom is the only remaining center on the roster. Vogel did not disclose his starting lineup during his pregame media availability.
The Lakers’ upcoming stretch of games was always going to be tough because of the level of competition they’re set to face, but with how many names are on the injury report, they’re going to need more than a few things to go their way over the next few weeks, starting with their game against the Suns on Sunday.