Josh Hart is the consummate teammate. He wants to identify a role, excel at that role and do whatever else is necessary to put his team in the best place to win. In this case, what’s best for he and the Los Angeles Lakers might be taking some time to fully recover so he can focus on development this summer, rather than waiting until the offseason to start the recovery process for his knees.
After Tuesday night’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Hart gave an update on the situation with a knee that has bothered him since, well, the beginning of the season to varying extents (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“I’m gonna meet with my doctors this week and I’m gonna figure stuff out. I’m just taking it a day at a time.”
This is pretty status quo for athletes talking about their approach to dealing with a grueling 82-game season. What Hart said next is a little more concerning, when asked about whether the platelet-rich plasma injections he had before the All-Star break helped:
“Not really, there wasn’t much time for it to really work. I knew there was a chance that it worked, a chance it didn’t work. Not enough time off.”
At this point, if even this procedure didn’t do much to help with his ailing knee, it’s probably time for Hart to be shut down for the rest of the season. The Lakers aren’t playing for anything right now, several of his other teammates are either sitting out games regularly or have been shut down altogether, and this summer is exponentially more important than anything he might take away from games right now.
Hart’s approach and mentality are both admirable, but there comes a time when the team has to step in and make sure the player and organization’s best interests are being prioritized, especially with younger players who might not fully grasp the toll the NBA season takes on the body.
While it would obviously suck to have yet another Laker shut down to make this season even more depressing than it’s been, this is an instance where Hart needs to be protected from himself.