The Lakers’ worst fears in regards to Jarred Vanderbilt were not confirmed on Monday, fortunately. After returning home amidst the Lakers lengthy road trip and undergoing further consultation, Jarred Vanderbilt has been diagnosed with a right mid-foot sprain and will re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks, according to the Lakers.
Vanderbilt initially injured his foot on Thursday in the first half against the Celtics.
Update on Jarred Vanderbilt from the Lakers:— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 5, 2024
After consultation with multiple specialists, Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been diagnosed with a right mid-foot sprain. He will be re-evaluated by team doctors in approximately 3-4 weeks.
Vanderbilt has struggled to stay healthy all season long. First, he suffered from a left heel bursitis, which sidelined him for the first 20 games of the season.
Upon his return, his minutes were limited and he was playing through the pain as he tried to get his conditioning back up. Then, he exited the Celtics game with a right foot injury. Initial results were that x-rays were negative, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Brad Turner of the LA Times reported that the injury was significant and Vanderbilt could miss the rest of the season.
Fortunately, that proved not to be the case, but it still leaves the Lakers without their elite wing defender for the ensuing month, at least.
Vanderbilt’s stat line doesn’t jump out as a world-beater. He averaged 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounders per game. However, his defensive impact is undeniable. Darvin Ham described him as ‘one of the best Swiss army knives in the NBA.’
LeBron James has mentioned that injuries have separated Lakers from league’s best teams and this one is certainly a brutal blow for the Lakers as they push to finish the last quarter of the season strong.
Even though Vanderbilt is not lost for the season as feared, the Lakers may still try to replace some of his production with another wing via trade. Players such as Bruce Brown, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Royce O’Neale have all been names connected with the Lakers.
No current player rumored to be on the trading block can replace Vanderbilt’s impact completely, but they do have to find a way to make up his absence. These players, along with giving more minutes to players like Max Christie, can help keep the defensive mindset until Vanderbilt, hopefully, returns before the end of the regular season.
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