The Los Angeles Lakers had been through a troubled phase in the last few seasons. It is mainly because many key players sustained injuries and missed several games. For instance, in the last season, Anthony Davis missed almost twenty games due to a stress injury. Later, LeBron James sustained a tendon injury on his right foot and sat out for almost a month at the fag end of the regular season. Hence, these injuries always push the team toward the back foot.
But with some crucial changes right before the trade deadline, the Lakers were able to turn things around last season miraculously. However, the tension rises as these players start showing they’re prone to injuries. Otherwise, the Lakers were going on the right track as they have balance and depth on their roster.
Jarred Vanderbilt’s Heel Is Not Showing Steady Improvement
But at first, Jarred Vanderbilt sustained a sore heel injury that kept him out for a few preseason games. Now, it is still not sure if he’ll be able to play in the regular season opener against the Denver Nuggets. In the offseason, the front office of the Lakers extended Vanderbilt’s contract to another four-year deal worth $48 million. However, Vando has a player option for his last year in that contract. But the contract suggests Vando should stay with the LA side until the 2027-28 season. Moreover, Vando is a key player in the Lakers defense alongside Anthony Davis.
Darvin Ham on if Vanderbilt will be available for opening night in Denver: “We’ll see.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) October 15, 2023
Vanderbilt will miss Thursday’s preseason game vs. Phoenix and be re-evaluated on Friday.
In the last season, Darvin Ham would give Jarred Vanderbilt the responsibility of guarding the best guard or wing of the opposing team. Hence, the injury to Vando is nothing but a shock for the LA side. As silverscreenandroll.com’s Jacob Rude mentioned, the Lakers are still monitoring Vando’s soreness in his heel. Moreover, the injury is not showing vast improvement but rather moving on a downward trajectory. However, the Lakers have enough depth to cover for Vando’s playing minutes. They may give Rui Hachimura or Taurean Prince the task of playing Vando’s role. Moreover, Vanderbilt is young and has no injury history. Hence, he should come back stronger and faster.
Two More Minor Injury Issues For The Lakers, But They’ve Enough Depth
However, the Lakers have two more players with minor injuries already in the preseason: Gabe Vincent and Jalen-Hood Schifino. As per Jovan Buha of The Athletics, the Lakers are monitoring Vincent and Hood-Schifino on a day-to-day basis. But they will re-evaluate Vanderbilt next Friday. Since they reached the Western Conference Finals with the new group of players that came together last February, the front office wanted to keep the core together. The Lakers managed to keep the core together as the James-Davis duo is still leading the side.
The Lakers say Gabe Vincent and Jalen Hood-Schifino are day-to-day. Jarred Vanderbilt still on track to be re-evaluated on Friday.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) October 17, 2023
Moreover, they retained the three crucial players in the offseason: Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and D’Angelo Russell. Later, they extended the contract of Jarred Vanderbilt, and Darvin Ham’s side also has Max Christie on their roster. But to add some reinforcements, the Lakers signed Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince, and Christian Wood. The 17-time champions also have the youthful energy in players like Jaxson Hayes and Jalen Hood-Schifino.