LOS ANGELES – After Anthony Davis knocked over a Gatorade car and called the Lakers defense in the third quarter of Thursday’s Spurs loss, it seemed like a four-letter word to come back on the field and to make more efforts.
But when he woke up on Friday morning, he felt a tightness on his right side that made the Lakers think twice.
Coach Frank Vogel isn’t sure how Davis strained his right adductor against San Antonio, but the Lakers’ mantra was cautious at the start of the season. Davis had previously missed another game, the first in a tackle earlier this year.
« It was sore and tight today and (he) wanted to see how it felt when he moved on the pitch and it didn’t really loosen, » said Vogel. « So this is a cause for concern and we wanted to make sure we played it safe so he wouldn’t be there tonight. »
Davis has averaged 22.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game this season while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. The Lakers replaced him on the grid with Markieff Morris.
The Lakers were also without security guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the fourth straight year, extending his absence to nearly a week since he sprained his left ankle. He is expected to be on the upcoming Houston road trip with the Lakers, where Vogel expects to start.
« We hope this is the last game he’ll miss, » he said. « He’s turning the corner, he’s getting closer, but two more days between missing today’s day off and tomorrow’s day we’ll hopefully have him ready for the game in Houston. »
The first road trip of the season usually happens when the core of the team really connects – and Alex Caruso was looking forward to it.
However, the 26-year-old security guard was stopped on the morning of December 28th when he learned that someone in his family he had seen shortly after Christmas had tested positive for the coronavirus. He was immediately quarantined for the next week to await his testing while the Lakers embarked on a four-game trip to San Antonio and Memphis.
« I just had to take a step back and put myself in a hold pattern and wait for me to come back, » said Caruso. “But the free time for me was just practicing, watching our game, watching a number of other basketball games, and playing Xbox. That was about all I could really do. »
What happened to Caruso, who missed five games without a positive coronavirus test, is now the standard practice for the NBA, which received a reality check this week with a series of positive tests. Philadelphia security guard Seth Curry was on Friday night with a positive test, and seven of his 76 teammates were questionable for a Saturday afternoon game against Denver.
Three Boston Celtics, three Dallas Mavericks, and other health and safety log absences were added to the list, spread across the league. In the Lakers’ own game, four Bulls players were looking for health and safety logs.
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“I think the league has been preparing for positive tests this year. I think we all did it, ”said Vogel. « And I don’t think either of us will be surprised. And hopefully it’s as little as possible. But personally I expected that there would be some teams that test positive, and that’s only part of it. »
In an anticipated move, the Lakers’ G League partner will not be participating in the bubble starting next month at Disney World. There will be 17 partners in attendance as well as the G League Ignite team, which includes some of the most suitable candidates for this year’s NBA draft, participating in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where the NBA held its bubble last summer complete the season.
« While we appreciate the G League’s efforts to put this model together for all member teams, we have found that this is the best course of action for the Lakers organization, » the team said in a statement.
South Bay coach Coby Karl told the Southern California News Group in December that he and his coaching staff had remained on the Lakers’ payroll despite their contracts technically expired in July. It is unclear what their future with the organization will be as the team won’t play this season.
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