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Lakers injury update: Dennis Schroder ready for play-in game

Dennis Schroder was on the practice court wearing his Lakers beanie while honing his shot after practice Monday, injuries that kept him out of the last two games a thing of the past. All signs are pointing to the backup point guard being ready for the play-in game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday at Arena.

Schroder missed Friday night’s game against the Suns with neck soreness and Sunday’s season-final against the Jazz with right Achilles’ soreness.

The Lakers won both games to finish seventh in the Western Conference, setting them up for the NBA’s play-in tournament against the eighth-seeded Timberwolves. The winner earns the seventh seed in the playoffs and will face No. 2 Memphis on Sunday.

“He’s feeling a lot better,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “Keeping him out last game was more precautionary than anything. So, he’s had a few days to get some treatment. He’s out here on the court now going through some stuff. But he’s going to be fine. We look forward to having him back in the lineup.”

Unlike LeBron James (right foot soreness), Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury) and D’Angelo Russell (left foot soreness), who are all listed as probable, Schroder was not listed on the injury report.

The Lakers need Schroder back for all that he brings as a key reserve and when called upon as a starter.

“His defensive intensity [was missed], picking up the ball 94 feet, play-making, his pace,” Davis said after practice. “He gets the ball and he’s flying, which forces the other guys to run, forces us to run. And he was definitely missed for sure. I hope he’s back ready, back healthy to get going tomorrow and then we can pick up where we left off at.”

Lakers’ trio ready to face former team

Now that they are Lakers, Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley will face their former team Tuesday, the Timberwolves full of their friends who will be foes in the play-in game.

Russell was traded to the Lakers by the Timberwolves in February. Vanderbilt and Beasley were traded last summer by the Wolves to Utah, which shipped the pair to the Lakers in February.

That makes for an interesting subplot.

“I mean, not the fact that they traded me has anything to do with it, but the fact that they are in the way of what we’re trying to get done, I mean, that’s all that really matters to me, honestly,” Russell said after Sunday’s game. “Trying to prepare mentally now for that, because obviously it’s a big game and it matters. It takes a lot, so just trying to get that win by any means.”

Vanderbilt, the Lakers’ multi-facet versatile defender, has been more than willing to share tips on what the Timberwolves like to do.

“I’ve been there, so I know what they like to get to,” he said. “I know those guys personally, their tendencies. So even just helping [teammates] scouting and trying to figure out their game plan and how they operate. It’s just much easier, especially because I got a couple of guys with me that have also been in this system and played with those guys. So it’s an advantage, for sure.”

When Vanderbilt, Russell and Beasley played for the Timberwolves last season, they were involved in a play-in game against the Clippers.

Minnesota, the seventh-seed then, won that game and advanced to play the second-seeded Grizzlies in the first round.

Vanderbilt recalled how intense that play-in game was.

“It’s super intense,” he said. “It’s almost like a March Madness type of feel. Win or go home, pretty much. That’s how we viewed it. Obviously, we had another opportunity if we did lose. But we treated it like it was a win-or-go-home situation. So, the atmosphere was crazy. It was just super competitive. Everybody really was just playing their heart out. For us, being in there last year, we kinda know how it is and what to expect. Pretty much the same situation: we were at home and we were the No. 7 seed. We went on to win and go play Memphis. So that’s how we’re viewing it this year as well. It’s kind of the same exact setup.”

In many ways, the experience last year will be beneficial.

“It’s an all-or-nothing type of Game 7, right? It’s like all the marbles,” Russell said. “So you see guys playing extremely hard. You see coaches coaching extremely hard. Everybody is trying to do their jobs to the fullest to get the win because it obviously matters. So, as simple as that. I don’t know if you can get experience from it. It’s basically like a playoff mindset.”

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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