Lakers minus Dennis Schroder, maybe Russell Westbrook, for opener

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Los Angeles Lakers will be limited at point guard in their opener game against the Golden State Warriors, but that didn’t stop Anthony Davis from planning a statement performance to start the regular season.

“Our first two games are against two title contenders,” Davis said Monday, referring to Tuesday’s opener away against the defending champions, followed by a home game against the LA Clippers on Thursday. “It’s always good to spoil a ring night. So our mindset goes up and we start this season with a few Ws.”

New Lakers coach Darvin Ham will be without a point guard and possibly two in his rotation.

Dennis Schroder had surgery scheduled to repair a thumb ligament on Monday and Ham estimated the recovery will keep him out of the line-up for three to four weeks.

Schroder signed with the Lakers last month and missed most of training camp while resolving a visa issue that prevented him from traveling from Germany to Southern California with his family. He appeared in a preseason game for LA, going 0-4 off the field with a rebound and a turnover in nine minutes.

Russell Westbrook is also handicapped entering the Warriors game. He played just five minutes in the Lakers’ preseason finale against the Sacramento Kings before suffering a strained left Achilles tendon.

Ham said Westbrook will be able to attend the Lakers’ non-contact practice Monday and the team won’t know if the veteran guard can play against the Warriors until Tuesday’s evaluation.

Ham did not confirm if Westbrook would come off the bench if he is cleared to play like he did against the Kings.

“I thought he had a great start, made a few plays for his teammates. But then having to leave the game, that’s the last look you get,” Ham said. “We will continue to work through it and continue to evaluate our squad and continue to see which rotation fits – not just the starters.”

Backup Big Man Thomas Bryant also suffers from a daily thumb injury, according to Ham.

Davis, who missed three of the Lakers’ six preseason games with lower back strains, said he had “no restrictions” on the Warriors game. He did, however, reveal the cause of the back pain, blaming a team performance at the Pechanga Resort Casino about 100 miles from the Lakers’ practice facility as the cause of the flare-up.

“We sat on the bus for so long going to Pechanga,” Davis said. “The bus was a bit different than what we usually drive. So just from there, sitting, crammed in for a few hours, it kind of impacted.”

LeBron James, who begins his 20th season against his old Finals opponent on Tuesday, is hoping health will be on his team’s side unlike last season.

“Vision? I didn’t really have a vision [for this season]’ James said on Monday. “Health has always been a big issue for our club since I’ve been here. That’s the only vision, come in and be as healthy as you can and give us a chance to win every night.”

Davis sounded like someone expecting a lot more wins than LA has had since winning the championship in 2020.

“We are motivated to get back to where we belong. The last two seasons haven’t been what we envisioned,” Davis said. “It wasn’t Lakers basketball and we know that. Not the standard of our organization. Our standard is to fight for championships and in the last two seasons we haven’t done that. So it’s motivation and hunger from everyone on the floor. Everyone in the locker room, with all the coaches, in the front office to make sure we get back to the level of basketball that we know we can play.”

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34818465/dennis-schroder-thumb-procedure-russell-westbrook-day-day Lakers minus Dennis Schroder, maybe Russell Westbrook, for opener

Emma Bowman

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