While Trevor Ariza is continuing to make progress towards a return, the Lakers still don’t have an exact timeline of when that may be. Prior to Thursday’s game against the Grizzlies, head coach Frank Vogel gave the latest update on the veteran forward, who participated in practice with the team in a scrimmage earlier in the week.
“Like I said, he had the practice the other day,” Vogel said. “He got into live action for the first time. We’re hoping to have him potentially practice with the [the South Bay Lakers] next week on a day where we may not be practicing, if that’s necessary for him to get more live work. So we’re trying to get [him] ramped up as quickly as possible, but no real update on the exact timeline.”
The Lakers’ veteran squad means the amount of practice the team has is limited during the season (they’ve only had eight so far since games started being played). Add in the general non-stop nature of an NBA schedule, and the main opportunities Ariza has had to do on-court work has been before games, which he continued to do in Memphis on Thursday.
Trevor Ariza warming up ahead of the Grizzlies game pic.twitter.com/hcRPNiRVt5— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) December 9, 2021
In that sense, it’s understandable why the Lakers would send Ariza down to the G League, where practices are far more involved and active, as is the nature of having a younger, developing roster. The Lakers used a similar gameplan when Wayne Ellington was working his way back from injury, as he took a brief pit stop in the G League to practice.
The encouraging sign, though, is that Ariza has not had any setbacks and is continuing to progress forward. All injuries are certainly treated differently, but Ellington was able to make his debut a handful of days after practicing with the South Bay Lakers. While it’s still unclear where Ariza is on his timeline, a stop in the G League for an active practice is another milestone crossed, and another step closer to making his season debut in the purple and gold.