Lakers Get Bad Injury News Ahead of Game 3 vs. Nuggets

The Los Angeles Lakers will continue to be short-handed against the Denver Nuggets for crucial Game 3.
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are gearing up for a must-win Game 3 against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. LeBron James & Co. have to win at home to avoid a 3-0 hole against the reigning champions, who swept the Lakers a season ago in the Western Conference Finals.

One of the reasons the Lakers struggled in the first two games of the series was their lack of depth. They are getting basically nothing from their bench with Spencer Dinwiddie and Gabe Vincent being non-factors offensively and Jaxson Hayes looking lost out there.

The frontcourt depth behind Anthony Davis has been especially lacking due to injuries to Christian Wood and Jarred Vanderbilt. The Lakers were hoping to get these big men back for Game 3 but Shams Charania of The Athletic just reported that both are going to be out for Thursday.

Lakers News: Christian Wood & Jarred Vanderbilt Out in Game 3 vs. Nuggets

This is a major blow for the Lakers. Yes, neither of these players are an absolute game-changer who is going to slow Nikola Jokic down. Wood will especially likely struggle defensively, making him only playable when Jokic sits or in short spurts. Vanderbilt can create offensive liabilities due to his lack of shooting.

However, the Lakers are running out of bodies in this series. They have absolutely no frontcourt depth and they are getting overwhelmed physically out there. Having the option to use Wood or Vanderbilt next to Anthony Davis would give the Lakers more size and physicality to match the Nuggets. Without them, AD has to play heavy minutes and carry a huge load on both ends of the floor, while the Lakers have to worry about how to survive the minutes he is on the bench.

The Lakers will have to get the win without Vanderbilt or Wood. It will be an uphill battle to be sure, but if they were to extend the series, they might get one of these big men back for the later part of the series. FanDuel Sportsbook likes the Lakers' chances as they are slightly favored (-116) against Denver in Game 3.

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