The Lakers and Jordan Clarkson received some good news Friday when an MRI showed that the second-year guard’s sore right shoulder was “normal,” according to a team spokesman.
The team said Clarkson will be “treated conservatively” and will be listed as day-to-day. The Lakers said they will have a better idea in a few days whether Clarkson can play in the regular-season opener Wednesday night at Staples Center against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Clarkson was injured in the first half of the Lakers’ lopsided 136-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors Thursday night in Anaheim.
He didn’t return to the game after Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti suggested Clarkson take “precautionary” measures.
After the game and after he had gotten ice on his shoulder, Clarkson said he didn’t recall when he was injured, just that he “felt a sharp pain” in his shoulder after shooting a runner in the lane.
Clarkson added that his shoulder bothered him after the Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. “But I didn’t think it was serious,” Clarkson said.
When Lakers Coach Byron Scott asked Vitti during the game about Clarkson’s injury, Scott said it wasn’t good news.
“He [Vitti] basically told me it came [popped] out and he put it back in,” Scott said Thursday night.
But Clarkson said that wasn’t the case.
“Naw, naw. It was just like a real sharp pain,” Clarkson said. “I would say my arm, it just felt numb. I came to the bench and coach got me right out. I just got banged.”
Clarkson played better than any other Laker during the exhibition season.
In eight games, he averaged 12 points on 45.2% shooting, 33.3% on three-pointers, shot 86.7% from the free-throw line, plus 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Clarkson, 23, was one of the rare bright spots for the Lakers last season. He averaged 15.8 points per game and five assists in 38 games as the team’s starting point guard and made the all-NBA rookie first-team.
A second-round pick, Clarkson will earn $854,059 this season and will become a restricted free agent next summer and probably will be in line for a big payday if his play continues to improve.
Perhaps that’s why Clarkson was so adamant about playing.
“No doubt, I think I’ll be able to play on Wednesday,” Clarkson said. “But I guess we’ll just see.”
Waiting on Bryant
The Lakers didn’t practice Friday so there was no update Kobe Bryant’s bruised lower left leg that kept him out of the last three exhibition games.
Scott insisted Thursday that Bryant plans to play in the season opener.
“There’s no doubt in my mind,” Scott said. “In talking to him, he said he was gearing up for Wednesday.”
The Lakers waived forward Jonathan Holmes Friday, trimming their roster to 16. The Lakers must waive one more player by Monday.