For most of the month of March as the Lakers have pushed up the playoff standings, they’ve done so while shorthanded in the frontcourt. Mo Bamba’s injury against the Warriors on March 5 left the Lakers with one natural center on the roster and while the team has survived without him, it hasn’t come without a cost, even if it was self-inflicted.
The good news is that Bamba looks set to return in the near future and potentially before the Lakers postseason run. On Tuesday, Bamba was upgraded — after D’Angelo Russell was downgraded — from out to doubtful ahead of the team’s game against the Jazz.
The Lakers have upgraded Mo Bamba (left ankle sprain) to doubtful for tonight’s game at Utah.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) April 4, 2023
Bamba was set to be re-evaluated this week and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, speaking recently on the “Late Night Lake Show” podcast, revealed his return was likely imminent.
On the latest episode of LNLS with @jovanbuha provides a positive Mo Bamba Injury Update:— Late Night Lake Show (@LateNightLakers) April 4, 2023
"Mo [Bamba] is supposed to be reevaluated this week. I would not be surprised if he’s back by the end of the week.” #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/kQxT8ij9PD
Bamba’s limited time on the court with the Lakers had some mixed results. For one, his debut was delayed by a suspension from his time in Orlando. When he did take a court, he fouled out in his first game and had more scoreless games (3) than games scoring in double digits (2).
But statistics aside, Bamba’s size is sorely needed on this Lakers roster more than anything. And he has contributed in non-scoring ways, averaging 5.3 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game in his seven games so far.
As the Lakers look set for some form of a postseason, whether in a play-in game or straight into the playoffs, Bamba could be a very important piece for the team. Matchups matter in the postseason but considering how thin the Lakers are in the frontcourt, Bamba very well could factor in some way.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.