Lakers Veteran Jared Dudley ‘Evaluating Options’ After Injury

anthony davis, jared dudley, lebron james

Getty LeBron James, Anthony Davis & Jared Dudley of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers veteran forward Jared Dudley is weighing his options on how to proceed forward after suffering a torn MCL.

The Lakers announced the injury — along with a right knee contusion — in a release on Sunday, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“In addition to a right knee contusion, Jared Dudley has been diagnosed with a right MCL tear,” the Lakers announced. “He is evaluating his treatment options and a timeline for his return will be given when appropriate.”

It’s unknown how much time Dudley will miss or if he’ll be able to return this season. His one-year, veteran’s minimum deal is fully guaranteed.

Dr. Robert Clapper was among those to weigh in on the injury, saying neither needed surgery.

According to the University of California San Francisco Health:

  • A grade 1 (minor) MCL tear can take from a few days to a week and a half to heal enough for a return to normal activities, including sports.
  • A grade 2 tear can take from two to four weeks to heal.
  • A grade 3 tear usually takes four to eight weeks to heal, unless the ACL is also damaged, in which case recovery may take longer.

Jared Dudley Has Thrived as Locker Room Leader

The 35-year-old Dudley is in his 14th NBA season. While he’s averaging just 6.9 minutes per game and less than a point, he’s been relied on as a strong bench and locker room presence.

Dudley has embraced his role mostly from the bench for the Lakers, giving his all when he’s in, but serving as a glue guy off the court for a championship contender.

“When you’re on a veteran team, it’s having professionalism, and also just doing your job. When you do your job on the court, that gives you more of a trust off the court. You’re not telling LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Danny Green something they don’t know. So to get to know them and get the chemistry level, it’s more of a trust,” Dudley told in 2020. “From a leadership standpoint it really happens more in practice. It happens at minicamp. When you’re at movies, dinners. And so, it’s more trying to get to know you as a person, as a friend, and then when it comes to the basketball and they respect you, and they understand where you’re coming from as a person, they can kind of hear your advice a little better. It could be shot selection at a certain time, time of possession when it comes to slowing the ball down and getting a good shot instead of rushing a couple shots … I’ve been able to do both throughout my career, but I think every player loves to have more of a championship contender team to be able to play with.”

Dudley last appeared in a game for the Lakers on March 3 and has previously missed time with a calf injury.

Dudley has built a reputation as being a great interview and appears to be angling for a career in media after he hangs it up. He wrote a book that was recently released titled, Inside the NBA Bubble: A Championship Season under Quarantine.

For his career, Dudley is averaging 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists. His career-best season came in Phoenix in 2011-12 when he averaged 12.7 points per game and played a career-high 31.1 minutes.

Lakers Dealing With Injury Woes

GettyAnthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dudley’s situation adds to an already daunting injury report for the Lakers. Superstar Anthony Davis is expected to be sidelined at least two more weeks with a strained calf and Achilles tendinosis. The Lakers are 8-7 without Davis in the lineup.

The Lakers will also be missing a key rotational piece in guard Alex Caruso, who is dealing with a concussion after bouncing his head off the hardcourt against the Pacers.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel revealed that both Caruso and Marc Gasol — who is being held out due to the league’s health and safety protocols — will miss the next two games. Backup forward Kostas Antetokounmpo will also miss the game due to health and safety protocols. Gasol has already missed three games — dating back to before the All-Star break — due to the protocols.

READ NEXT: Anthony Davis Injury: Lakers Reveal Timeline for Return

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