Jarred Vanderbilt’s once seemingly innocuous heel injury may end up being a bit more of a wrench in the plans of the Lakers. Originally, Vando’s injury appeared little more than a minor inconvenience mixed with a little bit of extra precaution leading him to sitting out games, a notion head coach Darvin Ham seemed to at least publicly indicate.
But as Vanderbilt continued to sit this preseason, the concern around the injury seemed to grow. On Sunday, Ham ruled out Vanderbilt for the remainder of the preseason with his heel injury as he’ll be re-evaluated on Friday, the day after the team’s final exhibition game.
At the same time, the sentiment around the injury seems to have changed a bit as well.
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.
Jarred Vanderbilt’s availability for the season opener in Denver has been downgraded from Darvin Ham being optimistic to “we’ll see.” He’ll be re-evaluated Friday.— Dan Woike (Click the pic ⬇️ to read) (@DanWoikeSports) October 15, 2023
After the team’s second preseason game, and the first without Vanderbilt, Ham indicated the team was largely being cautious with Vando’s injury. But he has not played since the first contest and that will be his only action before the regular season begins.
On Friday, Ham further clarified that the Lakers were “monitoring soreness” with regards to the injury. That predated Sunday in which the news continued downward.
For now, this doesn’t seem like a serious injury. It’s entirely possible he’s cleared to play and available for the team’s opening game of the regular season against Denver.
But, so far, the news has not been on an upward trajectory when it comes to updates on his injury. Ideally, this all has been one big precaution and the Lakers can hit the ground running at full strength to start the season.
The good news is this isn’t a situation of an entire season seemingly hinging on the health of Trevor Ariza’s ankle and the team having plenty of other legitimate options to step up if Vando is out for any time.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.