The Los Angeles Lakers are having a mixed start to the 2023-2024 NBA season. They won three of their first five games, including a thrilling overtime victory against the Los Angeles Clippers. However, their journey has been rough due to several players getting injured. One of the key players, Gabe Vincent, will be out for at least two weeks. He’s been important for the team. The Lakers had a tough season last year, and now they are dealing with injuries. It’s a challenging situation for them, and their upcoming game against the Orlando Magic will be a big test.
Injuries Hit The Los Angeles Lakers Hard
Gabe Vincent had been a regular starter for the Lakers in the first four games. However, he was noticeably absent in their game against the Clippers. He will be sidelined for at least two weeks, and this has been confirmed. Vincent had been a reliable contributor, averaging 6.0 points, 1.0 rebound, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He maintained a shooting accuracy of 39.3%. The 27-year-old guard joined the Lakers from the Miami Heat in the offseason. The Lakers expected him to play an important role in the backcourt.
In the previous season, he demonstrated his skills by averaging 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He also maintained solid shooting percentages. Vincent played a crucial role in the Miami Heat’s journey to the NBA Finals. He demonstrated his ability to perform exceptionally well in high-pressure situations. The Lakers, as a team, are seeking to bounce back from the previous season. In that season, they secured the seventh seed in the highly competitive Western Conference. They finished the season with a 43-39 record and eventually lost to the Denver Nuggets in the Conference Finals. The Lakers were aiming for a better campaign this year.
How Will Injury Crisis Affect LA?
The Lakers’ journey through the early season took an unexpected turn. Several injuries affected key players, leaving the team facing an unforeseen crisis. While we anticipated Jarred Vanderbilt and Jalen Hood-Schifino’s absence since the preseason, the situation quickly escalated. When they squared off against the Clippers, the Lakers had just eight players available for rotation. This shortage of players added to their challenges.
They had already ruled out Rui Hachimura and Gabe Vincent. Taurean Prince joined the list of injured players just moments before the game. The Lakers managed to secure a victory even with a limited number of players available. However, it’s evident that relying on such a severely depleted roster is not a sustainable long-term solution.
Coach Updates on Injured Players
Head coach Darvin Ham provided insights into the injured players’ situations. They described Taurean Prince’s absence as a precautionary measure because he didn’t feel well before the game. Although the injury doesn’t seem to be serious, the extra day off until the next game against the Orlando Magic should help his recovery. On the other hand, Gabe Vincent’s late addition to the injury report was due to swelling in his back, which appeared to worsen after the last game. They need to further evaluate the injury to determine its extent. Rui Hachimura, who had been dealing with an eye injury, entered the league’s concussion protocol after showing symptoms similar to a concussion. A specialist examined him, and his return remains uncertain as he must meet specific criteria before being cleared to play.
Jarred Vanderbilt, who has been out for an extended period, is making gradual progress. Although he currently performs only stationary work, his discomfort is decreasing, and the medical team plans to re-evaluate him next week. The Lakers now face the daunting challenge of sustaining their early-season success while dealing with an injury crisis. With several key players sidelined, their depth and resilience will be put to the test as they aim to compete at a high level in the fiercely competitive Western Conference. The upcoming game against the Orlando Magic will serve as a crucial opportunity to show their ability to overcome challenges and continue their journey in the 2023-2024 NBA season.