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LeBron James, Lakers face another injury amid playoff push

lebron james dennis schroder anthony davis alex caruso

The Los Angeles Lakers were already down LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Dennis Schroder for Wednesday’s matchup against the Houston Rockets. That’s three of their top creators and their two lead ball-handlers.

In his pre-game Zoom, Lakers head coach Frank added one more key name to the injury list for the regular-season finale: Alex Caruso.

Caruso battled through right foot soreness for two admirable performances on Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. The Bald Eagle stepped in at point to average 17.5 points, 5.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 33.2 minutes over two contests. He also played All-NBA-caliber defense against Damian Lillard (who still went off) and Chris Paul (who did not).

After Sunday’s win, Vogel endorsed Caruso for All-Defense.

Caruso acknowledged that he relied on adrenaline to get through those games, and he was forced to exit the Lakers’ overtime win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday after seven minutes.

Caruso’s absence means that, once again, Talen Horton-Tucker will be relied upon to carry the ball-handling load. Against the tough Knicks defense on Tuesday, the 20-year old sophomore overcame seven turnovers to put up 13 points and 10 assists and hit the game-winning 3-pointer over his childhood hero, Derrick Rose.

Caruso will join James and Davis on the sideline for banner night. Vogel noted that Davis woke up with soreness on Wednesday after injuring his groin late in the Knicks bout.

James self-evaluated that his ankle was not quite ready to go, and he ruled himself out mid-day. Vogel said James’ availability remains a day-to-day thing. He expressed optimism, though not certainty, that LeBron could hoop this  weekend.

On the bright side, Vogel said he’s “hopeful” that the Lakers will get their true starting point guard, Dennis Schroder, back for Saturday’s game at the Indiana Pacers.

On the brighter side: the Lakers play the Rockets, who are barely fielding an NBA team.