There is optimism within the Los Angeles Lakers organization that newly acquired center Andre Drummond will not miss more than a game or two with the right big toe injury he suffered in his debut for the team, sources told ESPN.
Drummond, seen by many as the prize gem of the NBA buyout market, was forced to leave the Lakers' 112-97 loss to Milwaukee early Wednesday after Bucks center Brook Lopez inadvertently stepped on his right foot, causing the toenail on Drummond's big toe to fall off.
The nine-year veteran was officially diagnosed with a bruised toe, and X-rays taken at the arena came back negative, according to the team.
Drummond tweeted about the injury Thursday night, writing, "Well I lost a toenail but still felt incredible wearing the purple and gold!! Be back soon."
The Lakers play on the road against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, then return to Staples Center for another "Battle for L.A." showdown against the Clippers on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, ABC), before embarking on a five-game East Coast trip. The Lakers said Thursday that Drummond did not accompany the team on the flight to Sacramento and will miss the Kings game.
It's a crucial stretch for the defending champions, losers of five of their past seven games since LeBron James went out with a high-ankle sprain. Anthony Davis has also missed L.A.'s past 20 games while recovering from a calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg.
The Lakers (30-18) are currently No. 4 in the Western Conference but have only a half-game lead over the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, which both sport a 29-18 record. L.A. is four games up on the No. 7 Dallas Mavericks with 24 regular-season games remaining. Teams seeded Nos. 7-10 in both conferences will have a play-in tournament in May in order to determine the final two playoff spots.
"Just unfortunate to have this happen to me in the first game," Drummond said Wednesday. "It kind of was a little deflating for me, but my head is high. I'm going to take it day by day and come back better than ever."