The Los Angeles Lakers have been without starting center JaVale McGee for the last four games. Originally diagnosed as dealing with flu-like symptoms, it has now been revealed that he was hospitalized while dealing with pneumonia as well as an upper respiratory infection.
The next game on the schedule for the Lakers of course, is their Christmas Day showdown with the Golden State Warriors. McGee spent the previous two seasons with the Warriors, winning a pair of championships while there and revitalizing his career.
McGee undoubtedly had the first game against his former team circled on his calendar for quite some time. In an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, McGee admitted that the Lakers’ clash with the Warriors is very important to him and he’s focused on recovering so as to return:
“Of course, that’s the only thing, the only game I’ve been thinking about while being bedridden is the Christmas Day game,” McGee told Yahoo Sports. “No offense to the other teams, but that’s really important to me. I’ve got to get better for that game. That’s the homecoming, the ring ceremony. It’s really important.”
It is normal for players to get a little more excited when suiting up against a former team, especially for the first time. McGee played a big role on back-to-back championship teams in Golden State, but he has thrived in an even larger role for the Lakers this season and he will surely want to show out in Oakland.
Additionally, as he noted, since it’s McGee’s first game back in Oakland he will also be receiving his championship ring for last season, adding even more importance to this contest.
Whether McGee’s health will improve enough to allow him to suit up for the game remains to be seen, but he will do everything possible to be on the floor and try to show his old team what they’re missing out on.
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