Anthony Davis has already been out for more than a month with his calf injury, and to make it even worse, LeBron James injured his ankle earlier against the Hawks.
Solomon Hill from the Hawks dove for the ball and collided with LeBron’s leg, forcing his right ankle to turn inwards. James tried to stay in the game and play it out, but he was in too much discomfort to continue, thus he left the game and did not return.
LeBron’s injury could not have come at a worse time with the Purple & Gold relying on him heavily with AD being out. The King’s MRI thankfully came back negative, though he will reportedly be out indefinitely, and this already means so much for the defending champs.
Players Who Have to Step Up
With the two all-stars out, all players must step up their game to keep the Lakers afloat. One person who will need to carry a lot of the load would be Dennis Schröder. Aside from scoring, Dennis has been that second ball-handler for the Laker team as he averages almost 5 assists per game. With LBJ out, look for him to be the main ball handler and create things on the offensive end.
Another player that really needs to step up in the absence of James would be Kyle Kuzma. He will most likely get that starting role at the forward spot and he needs to be a reliable and consistent scorer if the Lakers want to get more wins. Averaging only 12.1 points a game so far this season, he will be expected to increase that output and be one of the go-to guys of the Lakers.
One more player that will be heavily relied on would be second-year player Talen Horton-Tucker. THT has drastically improved this year with the increase of his minutes. He has been one of the main scorers and ball handlers off the bench, so with LeBron being out, there will be higher expectations from him in almost all aspects.
With its two stars out, the Lakers’ playoff race will be exciting down the line. Currently, in the 3rd seed in the West, the Lakers were on a 4 game winning streak after the All-Star break.
The Lakers were fighting for one of the top 2 seeds in the West, and with LeBron and AD out, things could change real quick. Hopefully, the Lakers can figure things out and still fight for a good playoff spot.
Health Moving Forward
One big concern would be the Lakers’ health moving forward, especially going into the playoffs. LeBron and AD are obviously the two biggest keys to the Lakers and their quest to go back-to-back. With both of them out, everyone hopes that they can get back in shape and be healthy in time to make a deep playoff run.
Injuries are certainly something you never want to see. We can only hope that LeBron, AD, and the whole Laker team can take time to heal, get healthy, and be ready to defend their title.
Featured Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP News