As more and more reports continue to come out about Jarred Vanderbilt’s injury, the news getting more and more grim for the Lakers. After suffering an injury during the first half of Thursday’s game against the Celtics, Vando’s injury is certainly a serious one and one that appears increasingly likely to cost him his season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Brad Turner of LA Times reported as much prior to Saturday’s game against the Knicks and after the contest, Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported the “expectation” for the Lakers is that Vando is out for the year.
Vanderbilt’s absence is indeed no laughing matter. There is still no official timetable for the sixth-year forward, though the current expectation is that he will likely miss the rest of the season, according to team sources not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The Lakers are still evaluating Vanderbilt’s foot and are expected to announce a firmer plan soon.
It goes without saying how big of a blow this would be for the Lakers. Replacing him entirely is impossible because of his uniqueness as a player. He’s integral to the Lakers’ playing at their best and, without him, there is a big hole in their rotation they’ll have to replace.
The frustrating aspect for the Lakers is that Vando was rounding into form and getting back to his best over recent weeks and was making an increasingly bigger case to move back into the starting lineup.
Now, the Lakers will have to look internally and externally for ways to fill the hole in the rotation. Whether they try to give more minutes to the likes of Rui Hachimura and Max Christie, for example, or acquire players like Bruce Brown or Dorian Finney-Smith, the solution won’t be a perfect one.
It’s going to be a big blow to this team no matter what solution they find. And it’s likely the end of a frustrating season for Vanderbilt. Just a bummer all around.
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