After missing the past seven games due to flu-like symptoms and later a case of pneumonia that required him to be hospitalized for three days, JaVale McGee is hopeful to return Sunday night when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Sacramento Kings.
McGee participated in shootaround and is considered a game-time decision. “Feeling pretty good,” he said of his physical state. McGee was hopeful to return Christmas Day, when he was due to be presented with a championship ring by his former Golden State Warriors team.
He did not make the trip to Oakland but joined the Lakers when they traveled to Sacramento the following day. He participated in shootarounds prior to games with the Kings and Clippers but still felt the effects of being under the weather.
“It’s way better than it was compared to Sacramento,” McGee said of his energy level Sunday. “Even compared to the Clippers, I was more tired (after that shootaround). It’s just getting better and better every day.”
Although the Lakers haven’t been able to practice due to their schedule, McGee has been hard at work over the past few days. “I was doing stuff by myself. The past three, four days I’ve been doing two-a-days,” he said. “I just tried to get back to myself. That’s all I really can do.”
Lakers head coach Luke Walton said his expectation was that McGee would likely play. Whether he would start or come off the bench was not yet decided, nor was how many minutes McGee would potentially receive.
“If I’m out there and playing well, I don’t think I’ll be limited. I’m sure if I get tired, I’m going to ask to come out. I’m not going to try to overexert myself, because all that’s going to do is be bad for the team,” McGee said.
No matter which day he returns, that the veteran center is back with the team is a relief in itself. “Extremely boring,” McGee described of his time off the court. “Stressful just doing nothing, especially when you’re used to a routine of doing the same thing, playing basketball every day, just being around the fellas.”
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