The Los Angeles Lakers have been able to stay afloat in the standings during the 2023-24 season despite enduring several injuries to the roster.
Although LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been nicked up, they’ve been able to stay relatively healthy and have played the bulk of games so far. However, the same can’t be said for some of the role players who have been forced to sit out a decent chunk of time.
Jarred Vanderbilt remains out as he works his way back from left heel bursitis. Vanderbilt appeared in the Lakers’ first preseason game, but has yet to play since then.
While Vanderbilt is progressing through the rehab process, it has been taking longer than most people had hoped as he was cleared for a return to play progression almost two weeks ago and still has not been able to play. Head coach Darvin Ham explained why it’s taking a while, via Dan Woike of L.A. Times:
Darvin Ham said Jarred Vanderbilt is ramping up in small segments of 2-on-2 and 3-on-3, which is a progression. He hasn’t played this season because of heel bursitis.
— Dan Woike is still here for some reason (@DanWoikeSports) November 25, 2023
Vanderbilt was recently seen getting a pregame workout in which was the first sign that he was nearing a return. However, the scrimmage progressions make sense and are typically a standard step for every player coming off an injury.
As Vanderbilt starts to get his 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 work in, the next step would be 5-on-5 with the final stage likely being a full-contact practice. Los Angeles’ medical staff has been extra cautious with players’ health given the team’s injury luck the past few years, so Vanderbilt’s going to really need to show them that he’s ready to make his season debut.
Fans are certainly hoping that Vanderbilt returns sooner rather than later because the Lakers have missed defensive versatility and energy out on the floor. While Vanderbilt may not be a reliable offensive weapon, he affects the game in so many different wants and his presence would go a long way in ensuring Los Angeles has a successful regular season.
Rui Hachimura undergoes procedure for nasal fracture
The wing depth looked like the strength of the roster coming into the year, but it’s been tested early on given the injuries. The Lakers suffered another blow when Rui Hachimura was diagnosed with a nasal fracture after the loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
L.A. announced that Hachimura underwent a procedure to repair the fracture and will be evaluated by team doctors in one week.
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