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Medical Analysis: Breaking down Jarred Vanderbilt’s left heel bursitis

Let's take a closer look at Jarred Vanderbilt’s left heel injury, the new prognosis and the return timeline for the Lakers wing.

2023-24 Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

Lakers wing Jarred Vanderbilt missed most of the preseason with what was termed “heel soreness,” and he was expected to return for the start of the regular season. However, that obviously hasn’t happened as the rangy, high-energy wing defender has yet to make his debut this season.

The Lakers’ medical report updated his injury to “left heel bursitis” prior to the team’s game against the Suns before announcing on Friday that he was making progress with his return but would be re-evaluated in two weeks.

In the following video, I took a closer look at the injury including explaining what it is and why it can be a sensitive issue for basketball players:

The Lakers have certainly missed a player like Vanderbilt who fills in so many gaps for the team, whether it’s as an on-ball defender, a high-energy and high-motor player or as a weakside rebounder. But this is not an injury you want to rush back from and then end up missing even more time.

In recent days, Vanderbilt has returned to light on-court work which is a very good sign. Keep an eye out for those types of updates in the coming days and weeks to get a better feel for how he’s progressing.

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA and partners with Quantum Performance in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training background to rehab & train elite athletes.

He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for over 5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical and skills perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.

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