Josh Hart had been in and out of the lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers since February with knee tendinitis, and the team announced Thursday morning that Hart will sit for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to address the issue.
From the Lakers' release:
Josh Hart underwent a successful ultrasonic debridement procedure on his right knee patellar tendon this morning, it was announced by the team.
Hart is expected to make a full recovery and return to basketball activities in approximately 12 weeks.
For what it’s worth, Hart appears in high spirits heading into his work to return.
Road to recovery ✊— Josh Hart (@joshhart) March 28, 2019
Hart had previously tried to address the issue with a platelet-rich plasma therapy injection, but admitted it didn't work as well as he had hoped.
Shutting Hart down should probably have happened sooner, no matter how badly he might have wanted to play at the time. It doesn’t make that big a difference as the Lakers season is about to end, but had he they performed the surgery a little sooner, his recovery date would’ve been pushed up that much more, allowing for more of the offseason to focus on development rather than recovery.
Still, it’s great to hear that they expect him to make a full recovery (though teams almost never say otherwise). Hart is a key component of the Lakers both on and off the court. The team will need him to take a major step forward next season if they are to accomplish more than they did this year.
In terms of assets, though, this does leave a question that has to be asked: Do the Lakers really have enough to pull off an offseason trade with three parts of the young core (Hart, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram) heading into this offseason nowhere near 100 percent? This only puts more an emphasis on how crucial it will be to walk away from free agency with something.
Right now, though, the focus is get Hart, Ball and Ingram back to full health so that they can come into next season ready to contribute to a more fruitful year than this one.