It’s uncommon for the No. 30 pick in the draft to make the impact Josh Hart has with the Los Angeles Lakers in his rookie season. While he might not be the most skilled player on the court, his high basketball IQ and effort on both ends of the floor made him a fan favorite upon arrival.
But after fracturing the fourth metacarpal of his left hand at practice on Wednesday, Hart will go under the knife and will miss some time on the court, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
Josh Hart is going to have surgery tomorrow on his broken left hand. He’ll be re-evaluated every couple weeks and “zero rush” to play him, Luke Walton says.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) March 1, 2018
There is currently no timetable for Hart’s return.
Hart played a big role in the Lakers four-game winning streak since returning from the All-Star break. Over his last 10 games as a starter, Hart averaged 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He was also shooting a team-high 39.7 percent from behind the arc in February on 2.7 attempts per game.
With Hart sidelined for the foreseeable future, fellow rookie Lonzo Ball will slide back into the starting lineup and Brandon Ingram will move back to the small forward position. However, this was a move that was going to be made in the near future anyway. The area Hart’s injury really effects is the second unit.
With Corey Brewer now reportedly committed to signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Hart sidelined, the Lakers’ depth on the wing is going to be sparse. In fact, Ingram is the only natural small forward on the roster. Expect Kyle Kuzma to play some 3 in the meantime while head coach Luke Walton experiments with the second unit.
The Lakers are expected to have 12 active players on the roster Thursday against the Miami Heat, including both of their two-way players Alex Caruso and Gary Payton II. Thomas Bryant will also be available and could see minutes at the power forward position as a result of the Kuzma moving to the wing.