For the second straight game, LeBron James will be out while Anthony Davis will be listed as doubtful for the Lakers ahead of Thursday’s contest against the Jazz. Wenyen Gabriel, who sprained his ankle late in Tuesday’s game against Dallas, remains questionable, an extension of the day-to-day prognosis given to him by the team after the Mavericks contest.
James is continuing to deal with his sprained ankle that he suffered in Sunday’s game against the Pelicans. While he powered through it in that contest, the sprain was a significant one that led to swelling on Monday and has kept him sidelined not just from the game but from practice as well.
Thursday will be the third time in the last four games that James has not suited up, the game against the Pelicans the outlier over the last week-plus of games.
The news surrounding Davis is much more positive. While he doesn’t seem likely to be available for Thursday’s game, the latest report indicated Friday as a target date for his return against the Pelicans, meaning Thursday could be the final game without his services. His doubtful listing does leave open the slim possibility of him playing on Thursday but it seems unlikely he’d play on both games of a back-to-back regardless and having him available on Friday offers another day of rest.
In the short-term, Gabriel being questionable is a particularly damaging injury because of the position it leaves the Lakers frontcourt in against one of the top centers in the league in Rudy Gobert. Dwight Howard should be available and Stanley Johnson has moonlighted at center throughout the season.
But potentially missing Gabriel means the Lakers would be down to only Howard and Johnson as viable centers, yet another blow to a Lakers team in dire need of victories as their play-in game hopes are quickly sliding away.