The Los Angeles Lakers are listing Russell Westbrook as day-to-day moving forward with what they are for now only terming “left hamstring soreness.” The issue forced Westbrook out of the team’s final preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, and his designation leaves it unclear if he’ll be ready in time for Tuesday’s season opener against the Golden State Warriors, a game Dennis Schröder may miss with his own finger injury.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports provided the additional context that Westbrook has “no structural damage” in the area:
After an examination, Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook is dealing with a sore left hamstring with no structural damage and will be listed as day-to-day, league sources tell @YahooSports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 16, 2022
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham added later in the day that Schröder may miss additional time:
Dennis Schröder (finger) and Russell Westbrook (hamstring) are both considered “day to day,” though it might be a bit of time before Schröder can play, said Darvin Ham.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 16, 2022
Playing in the opener is still a possibility for Westbrook.
Westbrook averaged 5.5 points and 3 assists on 35% shooting over 16.4 minutes per game during the preseason, all career lows. The nearly 34-year-old has normally been incredibly durable throughout his career, with his last missed game due to injury being the Lakers’ Feb. 9 matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers last season, when Westbrook claimed that long stints on the bench had made his back injury worse.
This latest injury for Westbrook came just several minutes into the debut of the Lakers experimenting with him coming off the bench as a Sixth Man, a lineup permutation Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes “the Lakers will continue to explore” during the regular season this year whenever Westbrook is back on the floor. Should he miss Tuesday’s opener in San Francisco, his next opportunity to play would be at home against the LA Clippers on Thursday.
If Westbrook misses time, the Lakers are actually lighter on point guard options than one would expect for a team this guard-heavy, as Schröder also sounds incredibly likely to miss at least a game or two, based on Ham’s tone. If both of them are out, the Lakers may split point guard duties between a combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and Austin Reaves — and, obviously, LeBron James will have the ball in his hands a ton too.
This breaking news story may update with more information and analysis as it develops. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.