Lakers not freaking out with LeBron James out with injury

Hey everyone, welcome to the LA Times’ Lakers Bulletin. It’s Dan Woike, and while I’m not an injury expert, I’ve always considered myself day-to-day. This week, we’ll take a look at the latest LeBron James news, what it could mean for the team’s playoff push, and the unlikely player who could help navigate the Lakers.

LeBron James out for at least three weeks

THE Lakers officially announced LeBron James’ foot injury Thursday, five days after he took to the court in Dallas with a non-contact injury to his right foot.

While the Lakers offered few details — James has a “tendon injury in his right foot” — the team said he will be evaluated in about three weeks.

The Lakers play 10 times over the next three weeks with eight games in Los Angeles.

James posted a video of himself inside a hot tub with “road to recovery” written on it on Thursday to mark his first day of rehabilitation from his injury.

While the initial injury news was disappointing, inside the Lakers locker room there was never a panic. The Lakers, who started Thursday in 11th place in the West, are well within striking distance of a playoff spot.

And with so many teams tightly packed (often playing against each other), there’s not much fear of a group of teams running away from the back of the pack.

That being said, there’s always an internal pressure to perform…and the curiosity of whether the Lakers can respond to that pressure the way Dennis Schroder did on Wednesday.

After the The Lakers lost to Memphis on Tuesday under a flurry of turnovers, Schroder called Wednesday’s game at the Thunder “a must win.” And then, in the first half, Schroder missed his first six shots and rolled his ankle, with the Lakers trailing up to eight at Oklahoma City.

After the frustration led to many on-court conversations in Memphis, the Lakers were able to talk about their issues again. Schroder was at the head of it all, leading the Lakers without Anthony Davis to victory behind his 22 points in the second half.

Los Angeles Lakers goaltender Dennis Schroder controls the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

(LM Otero/Associated Press)

“I think everybody holds everybody accountable,” Schroder said of the team. “I can go to AD and say, ‘Look, you’re not doing this, you have to be better. And he comes up to me and says, ‘Yeah, okay. I will do it next time. I think the responsibility in this dressing room has improved. Everyone looks at each other before saying anything. And I think that’s what a real team is.

Schroder admitted to being comfortable without the Lakers stars.

“I can play like I’m in Germany. Play freely,” he said. “I can play my part when everyone is there and try to do my best when the team is there, but if the ball is in my hands, I can do a lot too. Of course it’s a shame that they’re injured at the moment and AD is absent, but it’s always fun when I get the ball too – and we get a win.

It was his play at the European Championships this summer that earned him recognition as the Lakers’ starting point guard. The teams trade for D’Angelo Russell brought him back to the bench, but with Russell out with an ankle injury, Schroder helped the team go 2-1.

He was the first name Darwin Ham mentioned after the Lakers beat the Thunder.

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“Well, I think having a competitor like Dennis Schroder, the way he… Those of us who are basketball fanatics and watch him in season and off season on different levels, if anybody saw how he led his national team in the summer, that performance tonight wouldn’t surprise them at all,” Ham said. “He did a great job as a leader there. A guy with probably the most miles from anyone in this league, and especially at halftime.

“He had a difficult first half shooting, but he made the right adjustments, picked it up defensively after twisting his ankle and really led the whole group.”

Schroder said he wasn’t too concerned about his ankle — he’s a quick healer, he said.

“I mean we just want it to continue,” Schroder said. “Our goal was, at the start of the season, to make the playoffs. And it’s still now. And I think with the exchanges that we made, the people who arrived, they have the same state of mind, the coach received a clear message, and I think everyone is on the same length of ‘wave.

song of the week

“Home Sweet Home” by Mötley Crue

thank you note

Thanks to the generosity of my colleague Broderick Turner, I won’t be on the road with the Lakers until their last trip of the season, which means I have over four weeks here in Los Angeles. The good news for the Lakers — in this streak, they’re only on the road for two games. It’s a chance for the team to advance their playoffs right here in their hometown, and it’s the perfect power ballad to commemorate that chance.

In case you missed it

Dennis Schroder urges Lakers ‘must win’ against Thunder

Lakers without LeBron can’t keep pace with Ja Morant and the Grizzlies

LeBron James will miss Lakers game on Tuesday and maybe more

‘We keep making progress’: Lakers takeaways after beating Dallas

Lakers erase 27-point deficit to beat Mavericks

Takeaways from the Lakers-Warriors: Austin Reaves and Malik Beasley make their mark

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