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Lakers’ Russell Westbrook Suffers Hamstring Injury vs. Kings After Coming off Bench

Lakers' Russell Westbrook Suffers Hamstring Injury vs. Kings After Coming off Bench thumbnail

Los Angeles Lakers' Russell Westbrook dribbles the ball during first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Los Angeles Lakers announced that guard Russell Westbrook has been ruled out for the rest of the team’s preseason game at the Sacramento Kings on Friday with a left hamstring injury.

Westbrook was seen limping off the court and into the locker room near the end of the first quarter. He had checked into the game off the bench with 7: 27 remaining in the frame.

Earlier Friday, the Lakers announced that Westbrook would be coming off the bench, something that Westbrook hasn’t done since his rookie year (2008-09).

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

ESPN reporting with @Mcten: The Lakers are planning to bring Russell Westbrook off the bench in the final preseason game vs. Kings tonight (ESPN, 10 ET). Darvin Ham and Westbrook have been exploring possibility of Westbrook quarterbacking second unit and they’ll try it tonight.

Head coach Darvin Ham offered an explanation.

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham on Russell Westbrook coming off the bench tonight: “It’s not a demotion; it’s a realignment.”

He also made it clear that Westbrook took the change in stride while noting a final decision hadn’t been made for the regular season:

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Darvin Ham on trying Westbrook off the bench: “He’s been a pro. He totally understood. He said ‘Yeah coach, whatever you need me to do.’

For him to trust us and what we’re trying to take some notes on – him being in that part of the rotation – my hat’s off to him.

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Ham added: “The door isn’t closed on Russ starting – we need to explore it further. We’re not at the finish line, we’re at the starting blocks.”

The Lakers might be in a really tough spot to start the season, though, if Westbrook is forced to miss some time.

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L.A. opens the regular season on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors, and it already faces the prospect of missing Dennis Schröder (right finger injury), per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic in an appearance on Bally Sports’ The Rally.

The Rally @TheRally

“The Lakers do have some worry that this could be a long-term injury for him.”

NBA Insider @ShamsCharania reports on Dennis Schroder’s finger injury and the latest on Russell Westbrook coming off the bench. pic.twitter.com/o7rRxmfK8b

If Westbrook and Schröder are out, the onus is on Patrick Beverley to help take hold of the backcourt. Rookie Max Christie, who was in the starting lineup on Friday, could also see some more work. The same goes for Kendrick Nunn.

For now, the Lakers will wait and see the prognosis of Westbrook’s injury as the regular season looms.

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