While Moritz Wagner is ruled out for Monday’s game due to a left knee contusion, the Los Angeles Lakers rookie is making steady progress toward a return. Wagner has not appeared in a game since sustaining the injury during Las Vegas Summer League.
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He was ruled out for the entire preseason and was due to be re-evaluated at the end of training camp. Wagner has been back on the court going through non-contact drills and some scrimmages.
“He is closer. He did all of practice, and it was a controlled scrimmage,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton recently said. “He’s cleared to do controlled scrimmages right now and we’ll see how he feels after that. We’ll keep evaluating him as he goes.”
While Wagner conceivably could be fully cleared in the coming days, it likely wouldn’t immediately correlate to getting into a game for the Lakers. “I would imagine a good amount of time, but it’s different for everybody,” Walton said when asked how long Wagner would need to acclimate himself.
“I think it’s more challenging when you’re a rookie. You get healthy, now you’ve got to adjust to the speed of everything in the NBA.”
However long it does take Wagner, his presence would be welcomed considering the Lakers were thin at the center position to begin with. Through the first two games of the season JaVale McGee has been backed up by Kyle Kuzma.
Michael Beasley, who was another option being evaluated at the position during the preseason, has played just two minutes in the season opener thus far.