Lakers’ Caldwell-Pope has knee bruise, no structural damage


LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers starting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has a mildly bruised left knee, and his availability is uncertain for Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against Phoenix.

An MRI exam of Caldwell-Pope’s knee revealed no structural damage, the Lakers announced Friday.

Caldwell-Pope was injured in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 109-95 victory over the Suns on Thursday night. The win put the defending NBA champions up 2-1 in the series.

Game 4 is Sunday at Staples Center.

Caldwell-Pope averaged 9.7 points in the regular season, but he has struggled so far in the playoffs. He scored just five points in 26 minutes in Game 3, and he went scoreless in 30 minutes in Game 2 after contributing only seven points with 1-for-7 shooting from 3-point range in the series opener.

Caldwell-Pope was the Lakers’ third-leading scorer on their championship team last year, contributing 10.7 points per game as their primary perimeter shooting threat with 37.8% shooting on 3-pointers.

Wesley Matthews stepped up in Caldwell-Pope’s absence late in Game 3, scoring eight points and hitting two key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Matthews could get more playing time if Caldwell-Pope sits out.

Talen Horton-Tucker and Markieff Morris also would be options for coach Frank Vogel after neither player saw action in Game 3.

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