The Los Angeles Lakers will begin the start of the regular season without Dennis Schroder, after the point guard suffered a right thumb injury in the preseason.
Schroder underwent surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He will miss three to four weeks while recovering from surgery.
Injuries derailed the Lakers last season, with Anthony Davis missing more than half the season with numerous maladies, and LeBron James out for a quarter of the season with an ankle injury. The new season has yet to begin, and the Lakers are already sending players to the IR.
The NBA season tips off tonight with a doubleheader on TNT. The Boston Celtics host the Philadelphia 76ers in the first game, and the world champion Golden State Warriors host the Lakers in the second game.
The Lakers head into the season opener as a +7 underdog against the Warriors.
DraftKings listed the Warriors as +600 odds to defend their NBA title and win back-to-back championships. The Lakers are +1800 odds to win their 18th NBA championship and second title since LeBron James joined the team at the start of the 2018-19 season.
Schroder Rough Return to LA-LA Land
Schroder grew up in Germany and led his home country to a bronze medal and third-place finish in the EuroBasket 2022 tournament in Europe this summer. He averaged a team-high 22.1 points and 7.1 assists per game for the German national team, and was clearly the team’s most reliable scorer. He had the fifth-best scoring average in EuroBasket 2022. In the bronze-medal game against Poland, he led all scorers with 26 points.
Heading into EuroBasket 2022, Schroder was the top free agent who had yet to sign new contract. After an impressive stint in EuroBasket 2022, the Lakers signed Schroder. The Lakers acquired Patrick Beverly in a trade with the Utah Jazz, and they were loaded with point guards after they signed Schroder.
Schroder started in 61 games with the Lakers in 2020-21. He averaged 15.4 points, 5.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game with the Lakers that season. He signed with the Boston Celtics last summer, but lasted only 49 games before the Celtics exiled him to the last-place Houston Rockets prior to the trade deadline.
Schroder encountered visa problems, and he could not join the Lakers in training camp. He was stuck in Germany until he sorted out his issues. He finally made it to Los Angeles for the final week of the preseason.
Schroder suffered his thumb injury last Wednesday in his sole preseason appearance against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers initially called it a finger injury. An MRI revealed ligament damage, and Schroder opted for thumb surgery on Monday to expedite the healing process.
Will Russell Westbrook Return to Starting Five?
Head coach Darvin Ham hinted that he’d like to see point guard Russell Westbrook come off the bench as the sixth man. The Lakers went forward with the experiment in the final game of the preseason against the Sacramento Kings. Westbrook came off the bench, but was not on the court for more than a couple of minutes before he left the game with a hamstring injury.
Westbrook was listed as day-to-day with a strained left hamstring, and his availability against the Warriors tonight will be a game-time decision.
Ham had a vision to start Beverly and Schroder in the backcourt, and then have Westbrook come off the bench to lead the second unit.
With Schroder out for almost a month with a thumb injury, it seems logical that Ham would pause his plan to use Westbrook as the sixth man. If Westbrook is healthy, it makes sense that he returns to the starting lineup. If Ham wants to keep Westbrook as the sixth man, then Beverly and Kendrick Nunn could both start in the guard spots.
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