LeBron James, in a gray plastic walking boot, black hoodie and black mask, and Anthony Davis, in a lime green jacket and bright yellow mask, were hard to miss on the sidelines during Los 111. Angeles Lakers. -94 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
But Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder said that as long as LA doesn’t have its two stars in uniform, the Lakers have to completely review their approach.
“I think what we played before with the two of them on the court is totally the opposite now, I think,” Schroder said after the Lakers lost by as much as 18 points and never led against the Suns. “I think we have to move the ball, we have to play with more rhythm. On the defensive side, we have to be more fighters. And, yes, I mean that everyone who comes to the court must have confidence to hit the shot or to impact the game on the defensive side. “
When asked who would be called up to leadership during James’ indefinite absence with a sprained right ankle and while Davis is out for a minimum of one more week with a calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg, the coach of Lakers Frank Vogel mentioned Schroder.
“Obviously Dennis Schroder will be the head of the snake with the ball in his hands more, dictating some of the action,” Vogel said after the 27-year-old, acquired in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the offseason. , had 22 points and three assists on Sunday. “But we have a lot of veteran guys on this team who can lead, and we encourage our guys to lead from every chair in the room.”
Even from James’s seat, which was next to the bench at the Phoenix Suns Arena.
“He tells me he cares about this organization,” Schroder said of James who joined the team flight just hours after undergoing an MRI and X-rays of his ankle. “In my career, I’ve seen people get hurt and they don’t come on the road trip; and for him, being the best, one of the best that ever played this game, you see him on the bench there, even if he’s hurt. , it means a lot to me and everyone else [players on this team] as well.”
Schroder could be taking the reins on the court for quite some time. Vogel admitted that upper ankle sprains often take “a while to heal … They are slow recoveries.”
With the NBA’s compact schedule due to COVID-19, even if James went through a comparatively quick rehab process and missed three to four weeks, it would mean an additional 13 to 16 games without him for a team that fell to 0-2 when it does not. do not play.
Los Angeles is trying to find the silver lining in the meantime. Vogel said he was “optimistic” based on how the Lakers competed against the Suns, the No. 2 team in the Western Conference. Schroder went so far as to say that playing without co-captains is “great for everyone else” because they can “show teammates and the organization that they can play.”
And Vogel pointed out that time off for a 36-year-old playing in his 18th season that began just 71 days after his 17th season ended might not be a bad thing for James.
“We’re encouraging him to take a mental break and recharge a bit mentally, so when he comes back we’re in a stretch where we can push into the playoffs and make some noise, obviously heading into the playoffs.” added. Vogel said of James.
The idea of mentally and physically fresh James rejoining the team may be a comfort to Los Angeles; After all, he did lead him to the championship after a 4 1/2 month hiatus last season, but there is still an immediate challenge facing the Lakers. In the middle.
“We seek to play as hard as we can, play the right way and [we’re] “He’s still going to come out with wins,” Lakers big man Montrezl Harrell said. “I just have to hold on while these guys recover and come back.”