The Lakers’ schedule to open the season looked awfully daunting on paper coming into the year with their first two meetings coming against arguably the two best teams in the Western Conference in the Nuggets and Suns.
After falling in Denver on Tuesday, Thursday’s matchup against Phoenix looked all the more daunting. But some surprises in the injury reports on Wednesday might paint a little easier picture.
First, with the Lakers, Jarred Vanderbilt will be out once again, though with an interesting difference from previous games he missed. After being listed on the injury report as out with “left heel soreness” for the entirety of the preseason and the first game of the season, Vando was listed as out with “left heel bursitis.”
It might be a meaningless distinction, but with so much uncertainty around his injury, it feels notable at least. Hood-Schifino will also remain out while Cam Reddish is a new addition to the injury report with right foot soreness.
Cam Reddish is added to the injury report as probable while Jalen Hood-Schifino and Jarred Vanderbilt will remain out.— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) October 26, 2023
Vanderbilt's injury is classified as "left heel bursitis" instead of soreness for the first time as well pic.twitter.com/viLOulM4Z0
The biggest surprise, though, came with the Suns’ injury report. After playing on Tuesday and scoring 32 points in 37 minutes, Devin Booker was not just a surprise addition to the injury report but is also listed as doubtful. Alongside him and also listed as doubtful is Bradley Beal, who had previously expressed a desire to play in Thursday’s game against the Lakers.
Bradley Beal (low back tightness) and Devin Booker (left foot soreness) are both listed as doubtful for Thursday's Suns game in LA against the Lakers.— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) October 26, 2023
The Suns sacrificed nearly all of its depth in order to acquire Bradley Beal this summer, meaning games without him and particularly without two members of their Big Three are going to be rough sledding.
Even without Beal on Tuesday, though, Phoenix survived a big rally from Golden State on Tuesday to win on the road, so they’ve still shown some life. But eliminating perhaps the one of those three playing the best creates quite an uphill challenge for the Suns.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.