Alex Caruso returns to Lakers lineup against Hornets

Lakers guard Alex Caruso and Hornets guard LaMelo Ball battle for a rebound.
Lakers guard Alex Caruso and Hornets guard LaMelo Ball battle for a rebound on Thursday night at Staples Center.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Alex Caruso returned to the Lakers’ lineup on Thursday night in a 116-105 victory over the Charlotte Hornets after missing the last two games because of a concussion, while Marc Gasol has been cleared from quarantine as part of the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The reserve guard sustained the concussion against the Indiana Pacers on March 12 when he lost control of the basketball dribbling up court, collided with Indiana’s Jeremy Lamb and then hit his head on the Staples Center court during the second quarter.

Caruso missed games at Golden State and at home against Minnesota.

Coach Frank Vogel said Gasol was still in the health and safety protocols “in terms of not being cleared to play,” but that the Lakers center has been cleared from “isolation and quarantine.”

Gasol did go to the game on Thursday night, Vogel said.

“But [he] will still have a few steps to clear [before] he can be cleared to play,” Vogel said.

Gasol was placed in the health and safety protocols before the Lakers played the Phoenix Suns on March 2.


That makes it just about 2 1/2 weeks since Gasol has played in a game.

Vogel was asked how much of the process for Gasol to play is the NBA’s protocols and how much is the Lakers and getting him in shape again.

“Yeah, it’s still a protocols thing,” Vogel said. “And then once he clears that, we’ll make an evaluation as to whether he needs some time to get his legs back under him.”