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Lakers News: Talen Horton-Tucker Out vs. Clippers, Blazers with Calf Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 7, 2021

Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The short-handed Los Angeles Lakers will now be without Talen Horton-Tucker for Thursday's game against the Clippers and Friday's contest against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Head coach Frank Vogel told reporters as much, noting Horton-Tucker is dealing with a Grade 1 right calf strain.

Vogel also confirmed LeBron James will miss the two contests with an ankle injury.

Ball-handling will be a serious concern for Los Angeles in the next two games, as Dennis Schroder is also out because of the league's health and safety protocols.

LeBron frequently initiates the offense as a point forward, while Horton-Tucker can play in that role with the second unit. That means Alex Caruso will likely play significant minutes, while Wesley Matthews, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ben McLemore could handle the ball on the wings.

Horton-Tucker is averaging 8.8 points, 2.6 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game this season behind 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 25.8 percent shooting from deep.

The timing of all these setbacks could not be much worse for the Purple and Gold.

After all, they are tied with the Dallas Mavericks for fifth place in the Western Conference standings and a half-game ahead of the Trail Blazers. Whichever team finishes behind the other two from that group will be relegated to the play-in tournament.

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That would be quite the fall for Los Angeles after it won the championship last season in the Walt Disney World Resort bubble.

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