Lakers’ Rui Hachimura trending in right direction with calf injury – Orange County Register

Khobi Price

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LOS ANGELES — Lakers forward Rui Hachimura wasn’t available for Tuesday night’s home game against the Toronto Raptors, but his return to the court appears imminent.

Hachimura was sidelined for the fourth consecutive game because of a strained left calf he suffered in the Dec. 30 road loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, but his status entering Tuesday was upgraded to doubtful before he was eventually ruled out an hour before tipoff.

“Obviously, he’s still day to day, but he’s had some great days,” Coach Darvin Ham said. “Had a really good day [Monday].”

Hachimura has missed 13 games this season because of a variety of injuries – a concussion, a fractured nose and now the calf injury.

Ham responded “hopefully, we’ll see” when asked whether there is hope or an expectation that Hachimura could return within the next week.

The Lakers host the Phoenix Suns on Thursday before traveling to Salt Lake City to face the Utah Jazz on Saturday before returning to Los Angeles and hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

“We’ll take it day by day, see how he feels [Tuesday],” Ham said. “When he wakes up in [Wednesday] morning, go through the process and then see where it lands.”

SCHRÖDER’S RETURN

Monday marked the Los Angeles return of Dennis Schröder, who played for the Lakers last season and was an instrumental part of their run to the Western Conference finals.

Schröder, who also suited up for the Lakers during the 2020-21 season before they traded for Russell Westbrook during the 2021 offseason, played for the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets before rejoining the Lakers during the 2022 offseason on a veteran’s minimum contract.

He averaged 12.6 points and 4.5 assists in 66 regular-season games (50 starts) for the Lakers before signing a two-year, $25.4 million contract with the Raptors this summer.

“Dennis is a high, very high-level player,” Ham said. “We saw what he did for us last year. Saw what he did this summer in the (FIBA) World Cup. His tenacity, his competitiveness, his defensive ability and his ability to get downhill. He’s a guy that loved his teammates and was willing to run through a wall and do whatever you needed him to do.”

The Lakers have especially missed Schröder’s presence since Gabe Vincent, who entered the season slated to be the backup point guard, has only played in five games because of knee ailments. Vincent had left knee surgery on Dec. 27 and will be re-evaluated around late February.

TWO-WAY PLAYER

When the Lakers signed Skylar Mays to a two-way contract, the move was not only made to fortify the team’s point guard depth in light of Vincent’s injury but also to give rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino the opportunity to get more playing time with the organization’s G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.

After spending most of the season with the NBA club when he wasn’t injured, Hood-Schifino made his debut for South Bay on Monday, logging 20 points and seven assists in South Bay’s 120-115 victory over the Clippers’ Ontario-based G League affiliate.

“When you have one of your point guards that you were expecting to be a huge part of the rotation, be limited due to injury – and again, that’s NBA circumstances – it forces you to adjust and pivot to other scenarios,” Ham said. “Jalen is a young guy, played one year of college, young in the league, definitely needs those game reps that South Bay provides.

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Khobi Price www.ocregister.com Lakers,NBA,Sports

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2024-01-10 04:55:19 , Orange County Register

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