The Lakers injury crisis right now is so ridiculous — and hilarious — that even when they welcome a player back into the fold in Taurean Prince for Monday’s game against the Heat, a new player joins the list of those unavailable in Jaxson Hayes.
Due to the injuries, the Lakers have had a mixed bag of results through the opening six games. The good news, though, is that it appears two of the players may not be sidelined that much longer.
Prior to Monday’s game against the Heat, head coach Darvin Ham spoke about both Rui Hachimura and Jaxson Hayes.
Darvin Ham says Rui Hachimura is still day to day but progressing. Says Jaxson Hayes could push through if it was later in the year, but now, they’ve got a chance to let his ankle calm down.— Dan Woike (Click the pic ⬇️ to read) (@DanWoikeSports) November 6, 2023
Hachimura has missed a week of games since playing against the Kings last Sunday in his most recent game. Only part of that last week was he in the league’s concussion protocol. Now, he must clear certain benchmarks set by the league, not the Lakers, in order to return to play.
With Hayes, the Lakers playing it safe isn’t a surprise given how they typically treat injuries but is a surprise given the context of their current injury woes. They can barely field a rotation of NBA players and perhaps that decision was made earlier only after news of Prince being available came out.
Fortunately, it does not appear either injury is going to be a long-term one, even if neither has a return timeline right now. Following Monday’s game against the Heat, the Lakers will play on Wednesday in Houston and Phoenix on Friday before turning home for a four-game stand, which could allow Rui and Hayes to return by then if they haven’t already.
For now, the Lakers can afford not to have a sense of urgency about injuries, no matter how much the team has struggled early.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.