After being sidelined through most of the preseason and all of the regular season so far with left heel bursitis, the Lakers have officially given us a Jarred Vanderbilt update. On Monday morning, the team announced good injury news as Vanderbilt has been cleared to begin a return to play progression.
Lakers announce Jarred Vanderbilt has been cleared to begin a return to play progression.— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) November 13, 2023
The last time Vanderbilt played for the Lakers was the second preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. Since then, his left heel bursitis injury status has gone from day-to-day to week-to-week and after his two-week evaluation, he’s now going to start ramping up to getting back on the court.
The return of Vanderbilt will be a welcomed reinforcement for the Lakers. In ten games this season, the Lakers have already played without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Rui Hachimura, Jaxson Hayes, Gabe Vincent and Jalen Hood-Schifino.
In part because these players were missing in action, L.A. has struggled defensively, particularly during the opening quarters. Having a dynamic defensive wing like Vanderbilt back in the fray should help with reducing the first-quarter point differential.
Head coach Darvin Ham has hinted that the addition of Vanderbilt would include him being in the starting lineup, but regardless he’s a 20-plus minute player and adding him back to the roster gives the Lakers much-needed depth and another step closer to a fully health roster.
A “return to play progression” doesn’t give a definitive timeline for when Vanderbilt will return and the Lakers have had injuries string along for far longer than was originally discussed. Kendrick Nunn’s bone bruise that lasted an entire year comes to mind.
However, this is the first good news to come from Vanderbilt’s injury since early October and, hopefully, a sign that Vanderbilt will be back sooner rather than later.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.