Sources: Lakers' Schroder out extended period

Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder is expected to miss an “extended period of games” because of the league’s health and safety protocols, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The team is preparing to be without Schroder for 10 to 14 days, a source told ESPN.

Schroder sat out L.A.’s 121-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday because of the protocols. It was the second COVID-19-related absence for the Lakers point guard. He missed four games in February because of exposure found by contact tracing.

The Lakers have eight games remaining on their regular-season schedule and host the Denver Nuggets on Monday in the second leg of a back-to-back. L.A. is currently the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, but has the same record as the Portland Trail Blazers (36-28), who are No. 7, making it a real possibility the defending champions could begin their repeat title bid by participating in the play-in tournament.

LeBron James alluded to Schroder’s absence during his postgame remarks following the loss to the Raptors.

“I think our team is predicated on health,” James said. “That is the No. 1 thing for our ballclub. We’re a team that we need to be healthy and we need to be full. And if it’s not one thing, it’s the other. And then we show up today and the starting point guard is not in the lineup. So it’s like another blow for us.

“That’s going to be the biggest thing for us down the stretch, more than the games that we’re playing. Just how healthy we’re going to be going into the stretch run.”

The Lakers started Alex Caruso in Schroder’s place against the Raptors.

Schroder, who will be a free agent this summer, has averaged 15.5 points, 5.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds this season, his first as a Laker.

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