The news wasn’t all good for the Lakers on Thursday night, despite their huge win over the Phoenix Suns to take a 2-1 lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was forced to leave the victory early with a left quad contusion, and was not able to return to the floor to finish out the game with his teammates.
Caldwell-Pope sustained the injury when Suns All-Star Devin Booker collided with his leg awkwardly as Caldwell-Pope was playing defense:
This does not look great for KCP https://t.co/TTV4vWkeL3— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) May 28, 2021
Caldwell-Pope had an MRI done on Friday:
In a positive sign, however, Caldwell-Pope told reporters that he was “doing well” on his postgame Zoom with the media.
“A little sore, but I’m doing well. I got two days for rest and recovery. I hope I’m ready to go Sunday,” Caldwell-Pope said.
Our own Dr. Rajpal Brar offered up his outside medical analysis on Twitter:
Good news, painful but nothing structural. https://t.co/2N4sHrqrXa— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) May 28, 2021
Based on initial diagnosis of quad contusion, my educated guess is that ligament testing was negative and only pain response was in that lower outer quad area. MRI likely precautionary but we shall see https://t.co/H21UTXjfUP— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) May 28, 2021
And as Caldwell-Pope alluded to, he will have some time to let this heal. The Lakers and Suns won’t play Game 4 of this series until Sunday, meaning that the team will have two days off for Caldwell-Pope to get treatment and see if he can get right.
But if Caldwell-Pope is unable to suit up, the Lakers do have depth waiting in the wings. Wesley Matthews — who Lakers star LeBron James said should get the game ball for their Game 3 win — provided critical defense on Devin Booker to go with key shotmaking and floor spacing down the stretch on Thursday. Look for him to get the nod if Caldwell-Pope, normally the picture of durability, needs a game off to let this heal. But hopefully the MRI comes back clean and everyone is slotted into their normal roles, because the Lakers are going to need everyone as they look to defend their title.