Lakers Injury Update: Jarred Vanderbilt Has Not Had Any Contact Yet
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most important pieces for the Los Angeles Lakers still has yet to suit up this season as lockdown defensive forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been dealing with left heel bursitis that has kept him out since the team’s first preseason game.

The Lakers are undoubtedly looking forward to getting him back on the court and they recently got some good news on that front. Vanderbilt was cleared for return to play progression and has been slowly ramping things up.

But it looks as if Vanderbilt still has a ways to go before being ready to suit up. When head coach Darvin Ham was asked if the Lakers forward had begun taking contact yet, he revealed that hasn’t happened so far.

“No. Not as of yet,” Ham said prior to the Lakers’ victory over the Utah Jazz.

This doesn’t mean that next step isn’t around the corner for Vanderbilt as he is continually putting in the work to get back on the court as soon as possible. But the Lakers are going to be cautious and take their time with his recovery. So far that means low impact drills and conditioning and seeing how his body responds to that.

Ham also noted that Vanderbilt will pick back up on his road to recovery Wednesday after having more of a rest day on Tuesday.

“Today was a down day for him, just a more-or-less recovery day,” the Lakers coach added. “So he’ll pick back up with his recovery tomorrow.”

Vanderbilt was absolutely crucial to the Lakers’ success last season. His ability to guard nearly every position on the court makes him so valuable to the team overall and they miss his intensity on that end as well as his desire to do all the dirty work.

Offensively is where his struggles have come, but he had worked extremely hard to improve this offseason, particularly with his 3-point shooting. If he can become a reliable deep shooter, he immediately becomes one of the most valuable role players in the NBA. But first things first, Vanderbilt just wants to get back on the court for the Lakers.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham doesn’t want to put a timeframe on Jarred Vanderbilt’s return

Of course everyone is asking exactly when Vanderbilt will be back on the court, but Lakers coach Ham doesn’t want to put a timeframe on his recovery, preferring to just take things day by day.

“I don’t want to put a time on it. The biggest thing with Vando is because for so long he had to do stationary drills, just individually, he hasn’t had really any contact, obviously. So he is just day by day ramping up and getting his conditioning, low-impact conditioning as well as basketball stuff. And just to see how he recovers from that day to day.

“So it’s good that he got green lit to start ramping up to be more aggressive with his workouts, but it’s just a day by day deal.”

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