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Frank Vogel says he’s ‘hopeful’ Andre Drummond will play against Heat

AD (Andre Drummond) on da way (potentially).

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Drummond wasn’t in uniform when the Los Angeles Lakers played the Toronto Raptors in Tampa on Tuesday due to the right big toe contusion he suffered last week, but Frank Vogel is optimistic that he’ll be available for the Lakers’ NBA Finals rematch with the Miami Heat on Thursday.

“He still has some tenderness in the toe, (but) we’re hopeful he plays against Miami,” Vogel said.

Tuesday marked the third game Drummond missed as a result of his toe injury. While it’s possible that Drummond will need to sit out again on Thursday, it sounds like he’s making good progress towards a return.

“Yes, it has improved,” Vogel said of Drummond’s toe. “Our practice yesterday was really offensive drill work, nothing live, and he did do some of that but still has some tenderness in there, so we’re going to give it another game.”

When Drummond does return, all signs point to him resuming his spot in the starting lineup. Drummond started at center in his debut for the Lakers on Wednesday, but he only played a little over 14 minutes because of his toe injury.

What the center rotation will look like when Drummond is fully integrated into Vogel’s rotation remains to be seen, but Vogel seems committed to playing all three of Drummond, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol. That could mean Drummond will play less than the 30.9 minutes per game he’s averaged over the course of his eight-year career, but it’s more likely that Gasol will see his minutes decrease like we saw against the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

The Lakers and Heat will play at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. An update on Drummond’s status will be provided before then.

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