After missing the first 20 games of the season, Jarred Vanderbilt is set to make his season debut on Saturday against the Rockets. Vanderbilt has been sidelined with a heel injury since the beginning of the preseason.
Rui Hachimura, who has missed the last week of play due to a nasal fracture, is also available for the Lakers.
Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura will play vs. Rockets pic.twitter.com/roM8WlDpNr— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) December 2, 2023
The injury report is full of even more good news on top of Vando and Rui, as seen. After Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish each missed Thursday’s game in Houston, both are listed as probable against Houst. Hayes suffered an elbow injury against the Pistons on Wednesday while the Lakers sat Reddish vs. OKC after he made his return from a groin injury against Detroit.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James have been listed as probable and questionable, respectively, for most of the season and have continued to play, missing a game apiece this season. Effectively, the Lakers should have all but one player available on Saturday with Gabe Vincent the lone holdout.
By some margin, it would be the healthiest the Lakers have been this season. For much of the opening weeks, Vando, Vincent and Jalen Hood-Schifino were all out. Barring a late change, Vincent will be the only name left on that injury report Saturday.
It could hardly come at a better time as the Lakers were starting to run out of gas while undermanned. In their loss to OKC on Thursday, the Lakers looked gassed, both due to being undermanned and on the end of a four-game road trip.
Having available bodies alone will be a massive improvement and while Vando will need some time to get back into basketball shape and back up to game speed, his absence has been sorely felt, particularly defensively.
Just to be safe, make sure you knock on wood to avoid jinxing things because it sure seems like things might finally be going the Lakers way when it comes to injuries.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.