Thomas Bryant appreciates the support of Dennis Schroder during his injured thumb rehab

For the second straight season, the injury virus hit the Los Angeles Lakers preseason and delayed the season debuts of key role players.

While Troy Brown Jr. only missed the first two games of the 2022-23 season with a back problem, thumb surgery sidelined both Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant for a month. Their absence contributed to LA’s poor 3-10 start to the season and limited head coach Darvin Ham’s ability to boost the team’s stuttering offense.

But both Schroder and Bryant are expected to return to the court on Friday when the Lakers host the Detroit Pistons after a four-day hiatus. Bryant says rehab with the German guard helped the 25-year-old center through ups and downs on the road to recovery.

“It was good to have someone to talk to,” says Bryant. “Feed the same energy and suffer the same injury. It was the same glitches throughout rehab, the same ups and downs. Just basic stuff you go through in surgery and all.

“It was good to have someone who knows what you’re going through.”

Bryant says he doesn’t remember exactly when he injured his thumb in his left hand. “But I remember going up, you know, and not letting anything easy,” he says. “And I remember shaking my hand because it hurt.

“It was the only time I remember it, but I don’t remember exactly when the injury itself happened. For a while they said I would play through it, so I didn’t notice until now.”

Bryant adds that he was only able to use his right hand for about two weeks after surgery before incorporating his left hand into basketball practice.

Schroder feels ‘ready’ for season debut; says Bryant and he returns early

Schroder says he feels “ready” for the game with the Pistons after working on his conditioning over the past week. The 29-year-old guard adds that he and Bryant are making early returns thanks to an outstanding performance by the Lakers doctors.

“It’s a lot of power,” Schroder says of her rehab. “There are so many muscles in that finger you can’t even imagine.

“Mo, our hand specialist, did a great job doing so many strength exercises and even lifting weights that you have to do it a certain way. Have been doing it for 3 1/2 weeks now. It usually takes 4-6 weeks to recover. We are ready for tomorrow and feel good about it.”

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