MINNEAPOLIS — The Los Angeles Lakers are planning to bring Russell Westbrook off the bench Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and will continue to feature him in a reserve role for the foreseeable future.
Westbrook missed L.A.’s loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday with left hamstring soreness, but his status was upgraded to probable on Friday morning.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham brought Westbrook off the bench in L.A.’s preseason finale and said that the role allows the former league MVP to have the ball in his hands more often on offense, igniting the Lakers’ attack.
Coming off the bench will break Westbrook’s streak of 1,007 straight starting appearances, the third-longest active stretch in the league behind Chris Paul and LeBron James, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.
The Lakers practiced with a starting five unit of James, Anthony Davis, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV and center Damian Jones at shootaround. The Wolves have one of the biggest frontlines in the league with Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.
Davis is listed as questionable and if he is unable to play, Westbrook could return to the starting lineup — where he played the first three games of the season — sources told Wojnarowski.