Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso left his team’s home game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday after suffering a head contusion, and he is being evaluated for a concussion, per Bill Oram of The Athletic.
Caruso suffered the injury after falling to the floor while diving to prevent a turnover and simultaneously passing the ball to forward Kyle Kuzma, who then hit a three-pointer:
The fourth-year guard out of Texas A&M had four points, two rebounds and an assist in seven minutes before exiting the game with 9:55 remaining in the second quarter. Talen Horton-Tucker replaced Caruso on the court.
Caruso entered Friday averaging 5.8 points on 42.8 percent shooting (40.0 percent from three-point range), 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 19.9 minutes per game.
He played an integral part on last year’s championship team, and LeBron James has frequently sung his praises. He and veteran point guard Rajon Rondo raved about Caruso during the team’s playoff run last year.
Head coach Frank Vogel also told Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated in February that Caruso’s “defensive instincts and athleticism really reminded me of when I used to coach Paul George.” George, a Los Angeles Clippers forward and seven-time All-Star, has made four All-NBA Defensive teams during his career.
Caruso had missed seven games this season prior to Friday. Four were due to the league’s health and safety protocols (contact tracing), and two were for a sore right hand.
The seventh was via neck spasms after he got hit during a March 2 game against the Phoenix Suns. Team staff worked on him on the sidelines, but he did not return, per Lakers reporter Mike Trudell. He then missed his team’s March 3 game against the Sacramento Kings before entering the All-Star break.
Caruso was also listed on the injury report as probable with neck spasms before the Pacers game.
The Lakers could obviously choose to be very cautious with Caruso given that he has now suffered two head or neck injuries in the past 10 days. If he has to miss time, Horton-Tucker figures to see the court more. The same could go for Wesley Matthews.