July 27, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is questionable for Sunday

Life covering the NBA in 2021 means sometimes you have to take a player’s word for it.

Before Kentavious Caldwell-Pope stood in front of a camera in San Antonio, the last anyone had seen of him was on the court grabbing at his left ankle after a botched takeoff on a layup.

But here he was smiling and swearing that he wasn’t on crutches or wearing a walking boot or anything like that, the camera cutting off the image just below his neck.

“I got my regular shoes on,” he said with a grin.

The latest injury report from the Lakers suggests that the ankle and foot are both still connected even if they were out of sight, with Caldwell-Pope being listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at Memphis after suffering what has been termed a mild ankle sprain.

The only other Laker listed as questionable is LeBron James, whom coach Frank Vogel deemed as plenty healthy with his own ankle soreness.

The Grizzlies will be without star guard Ja Morant, who suffered an ankle injury during an overtime win Monday night at Brooklyn. Jaren Jackson Jr. still hasn’t debuted this season, and Grayson Allen could miss the game Sunday with his own ankle sprain.

The Lakers will play the Grizzlies twice in Memphis before returning to Staples Center.

For Caldwell-Pope, the injury comes at a time when he has looked his most at home in the Lakers lineup, a natural complement to James and Anthony Davis because of his athleticism in transition, his shooting and court spacing, and his movement off the ball.

He has started all six games for the Lakers (4-2) this season, averaging 10 points on 55.6% shooting from the field and 52.6% from deep.

“His confidence is at an all-time high. He knows what his value is to this team, and he knows what he’s about. And what he brings to our team is perfect in his role,” James said Friday night. “A guy who is a catch-and-shoot three-point player, a guy who is a great cutter, great in transition and also can just get a lot of movement. Getting defenses shifted because of his speed. So, it works for our team perfectly.

“When you have that confidence in yourself and it trickles down to the team, we know how big of an asset he is and obviously hated to see him go down tonight. It was just hoping for the best, which it is. It is the best-case scenario with the turned ankle, and we should have him back in no time.”

If history is any indication, James is probably right. Caldwell-Pope has been one of the Lakers’ most durable players.

“Ankle is fine. X-rays were negative, just a little sprain. And hopefully I can go in a couple days,” Caldwell-Pope said. “It’s a first time for this ankle that I can remember, but you know, it’s just a mild sprain, little ice, little treatment, like a day or two off that I always say that I need, should be fine.”

UP NEXT

AT MEMPHIS

When: 3 p.m. PST, Sunday

On the air: TV: Spectrum SN; Radio: 1110

Update: The Grizzlies (2-3) are coming off a 108-93 victory over Charlotte on Friday, when former UCLA standout Kyle Anderson had 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. The Lakers swept a pair of games in San Antonio before traveling to Memphis for another set of games Sunday and Tuesday.