Lakers' Russell Westbrook Doubtful to Play vs. Nuggets with Hamstring Injury

Doric SamOctober 25, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers' Russell Westbrook stands on the court 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

In the midst of a slow start to the 2022-23 season, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook could be sidelined this week.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Lakers listed Westbrook as doubtful for Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets because of a hamstring injury.

Westbrook has been ineffective in the first three games of the year, all of which were losses. He has averaged 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 28.9 percent from the field, including a 0-of-11 performance in the second game. His 28.7 minutes per game is the lowest mark of any Los Angeles starter.

The hamstring issue first arose after the Lakers' preseason finale. Westbrook said coming off the bench in that game was the reason for the injury.

"I've been doing the same thing for 14 years straight," he said following the Lakers' loss to the Golden State Warriors in their regular-season opener. "Honestly, I didn't even know what to do pregame. Being honest, I was trying to figure out how to stay warm and loose. ... That's something I just wasn't accustomed to."

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said Tuesday that he wasn't considering making changes to the starting lineup, but it looks like he won't have a choice. Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star, hasn't played with his usual energy, so it could be a good idea for him to sit out to get refreshed.

The Lakers have a tough stretch of games coming up with matchups against the Nuggets (two), Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz. Los Angeles will need Westbrook to be at his best if it hopes to avoid falling into a deeper hole.