This disaster of a Lakers season is getting a fitting, if also unfortunate, ending. In a year when so little has gone right and injuries have played such a central role, the team is going to limp to the finish line, figuratively and literally, as Wenyen Gabriel is the latest Laker to suffer an injury.
Late in Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Mavericks, forward Gabriel limped off the court, to the bench and eventually the locker room. After the game, the Lakers announced that Gabriel sprained his left ankle and would be considered day-to-day moving forward.
It’s a left ankle sprain for Gabriel, who is day-to-day moving forward.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 30, 2022
Lakers next play on Thursday in Utah. https://t.co/vZ32ymqYyC
The Lakers barely have any available bigs left at this point. With Anthony Davis and LeBron James already having uncertain statuses that resulted in them missing Tuesday and unlikely to play on Thursday, adding Gabriel to the list of bigs who could potentially miss time and Dwight Howard is the only center left on the roster.
Coincidentally, Howard played 5:16 in Tuesday’s loss to Dallas. His minutes have largely been matchup-based and he will almost certainly play against Rudy Gobert on Thursday. Stanley Johnson also has had success this year matching up against Gobert.
But the Lakers being incredibly, incredibly thin in the frontcourt is suboptimal coming up against a big like Gobert. And especially given the necessity of the Lakers earning wins, having talented players unavailable is also suboptimal!
Gabriel was also one of the few Lakers who seemed to give a damn in recent weeks, and played with a consistently high effort level. With so few of those guys on the roster at this point this season, him missing time on top of everything else could spells doom for a Lakers team that continues to tumble down the standings.