Lakers stars LeBron James (right foot soreness) and Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury) are both active for Wednesday’s game against the Clippers, tweets Mark Medina of NBA.com. Both players had previously been considered game-time decisions, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
As Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes, the availability of the team’s two best players was up in the air leading into tonight’s game after going to overtime to defeat the Jazz in Utah on Tuesday night. James played in 38 minutes, while Davis played 42 — both high marks since returning from their respective foot injuries in March and January.
“The extra five minutes definitely didn’t help,” James said. “It definitely didn’t help but we needed to get the win.”
Wednesday will also mark the first time Davis has played in back-to-back games for several months, McMenamin notes, with the Lakers’ medical staff concerned about a possible re-injury due to overuse. Head coach Darvin Ham said the team wouldn’t risk jeopardizing anyone’s long-term health for a short-term situation — the Lakers and Clippers are tied with identical 41-38 records.
“If we see that they won’t have any issues, in terms of their health, and we’re not putting them at risk, then we’ll proceed,” Ham said. “If there’s any kind of question marks, we’ll walk through them, talk through them, and go from there.”
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Guard D’Angelo Russell (left foot soreness) was ruled out of Tuesday’s game for precautionary reasons, tweets McMenamin. Ham said Russell has been dealing with the issue for over a year and called it “bad timing” that it started to bother him recently. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on Get Up (YouTube link) that there was optimism Russell would be able to return on Wednesday and that was indeed the case — he started at point guard.
- Backup center Mohamed Bamba, who has been out for a month with a high left ankle sprain, was initially probable for Wednesday’s game (Twitter link via McMenamin) and was later upgraded to available. It will be interesting to see if Bamba gets minutes over Wenyen Gabriel, who has played well this season off the bench.
- In another story for ESPN, McMenamin explores how the Lakers can retain six players who helped reshape the roster. The six are Russell, Bamba, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and Davon Reed, all of whom could be free agents in the offseason, though the Lakers are extremely unlikely to release Vanderbilt, who only has a small partial guarantee ($300K) on his team-friendly $4.7MM salary for 2023/24 (it becomes fully guaranteed if they don’t waive him by the end of June).