In addition to the three players that the Lakers previously ruled out, Jared Dudley, LeBron James and Dennis Schröder, they’ll also be without Kyle Kuzma on Sunday. Kuzma has been Frank Vogel’s choice at small forward in James’ absence. Sunday will mark just the fourth game Kuzma has missed this season.
There’s currently no timeline for Kuzma’s return and the same is true for all of the names on the Lakers’ injury report, but before Sunday’s game, Frank Vogel said he’s optimistic that Schröder will re-join the team before the start of the postseason. Schröder has missed the last four games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Frank Vogel says the team is hopeful Dennis Schroder can return for one or both of the team’s final two regular season games next weekend. LAL closes things out in Indy and in New Orleans on Saturday and Sunday to finish off the 72-game slate.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 10, 2021
In the meantime, the Lakers will have to make do with the limited options they have at the point guard position. Alex Caruso, who played through a foot contusion on Friday, will start against the Suns on Sunday.
Alex Caruso continues to have pain in his foot, but Frank Vogel said it’s a soft tissue issue, and therefore one where he has to deal with pain, but they don’t worry he can make it worse moving forward. Vogel called him “exceptional” in playing through it at POR (18 points).— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 10, 2021
Talen Horton-Tucker, who’s missed the last two games with a calf strain, will be a game-time decision.
Neither Caruso or Horton-Tucker provide what Schröder provides as a playmaker and a scorer, but they’re both more viable options at point guard than the other guards on the roster like Ben McLemore, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Wesley Matthews. They also give the Lakers more bodies to throw at the All-Star tandem of Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
The Lakers and Suns will tip-off at 7 p.m, and the game will be broadcast nationally on NBA TV.