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Lakers' Jared Dudley says he'll return from torn MCL before playoffs begin

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 5/7/2021 Sam Quinn
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The Los Angeles Lakers have dealt with injuries to just about every key player on their roster this season. Anthony Davis is still working himself back into shape after missing two months with a calf injury, LeBron James is expected to be out until next week with a high ankle sprain, and Dennis Schroder is currently in the NBA's health and safety protocols, but at least one Laker appears to be trending in the right direction medically. 

Lakers reserve Jared Dudley revealed on Twitter that he will return from a torn MCL before the postseason. Specifically, he tweeted the words "next weekend," indicating that he plans to be available when the Lakers close their regular season against the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans in a May 15-16 back-to-back. Dudley chose not to have surgery on his MCL, in part, to allow for a quicker return through rest and rehab, and now, it appears as though he'll be able to play in the near future. 


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Of course, Dudley does not play often for the Lakers. He has taken the court for only 76 minutes this season, fewer than even the minuscule 364 minutes he played last season. Dudley's role on the Lakers is primarily in the locker room, where he is revered as one of the NBA's best teammates. The Lakers re-signed him this offseason knowing that they could have allocated his roster spot to someone likelier to help them on the floor because they believe so much in his value off of it. 

In that sense, having a healthy Dudley won't make an enormous impact for the Lakers because he doesn't need to be healthy for his impact to be felt. Still, with everything the Lakers have gone through this season, they won't turn down a healthy body. It never hurts to have another shooting forward in your back pocket. If worst comes to worst and James has to miss even more time, Dudley is a serviceable emergency option. 

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