Report: Lakers’ Jarred Vanderbilt Could Return From Injury Soon

According to NBA reporter Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Los Angeles Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt could return from his injury soon. 

Lakers, NBA, Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent
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Vanderbilt suffered a serious right foot injury on February 1 against the Boston Celtics. 

“From what I’ve heard, the Lakers are targeting early April,” Buha said. “I don’t have a concrete date in terms of is that April 2nd? Is that April 9th? But sometime within that first week to week and a half of April, the Lakers are trying to get Vando back. The season ends on April 14th, so they are trying to get him back to get at least three or four games under his belt. One good sign is he’s been traveling with the team.”

Vanderbilt has played in just 29 games this season. He’s averaging 5.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.2 blocks while shooting 51.8% from the field and 66.7% from the free-throw line and has a plus-minus of +44. 

Vanderbilt has career averages of 6.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.4 blocks with the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Lakers. He signed a four-year, $48 million extension with the Lakers in September.

The Lakers are 41-33 on the season. They are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings. The team is eighth in the NBA in points per game and 23rd in points per game allowed.

All signs point toward the Lakers playing in the 9-10 play-in tournament game versus the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets. LAL doesn’t look like a title contender despite having LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

According to NBA insider Anthony Irwin of Lakers Daily, the Lakers didn’t make any trades at the trade deadline due to the season being “beyond salvation” after Vanderbilt got hurt versus the Celtics. Vanderbilt is one of the top defenders in the league. 

“While the Lakers would love to get Vanderbilt back and desperately need his energy, perimeter defense and physicality on the boards, they have operated as if they aren’t going to get him back,” Irwin wrote. “Some within the organization have even explained that the Lakers’ inactivity at the deadline was due in part to thinking this season was beyond salvation after his injury — which they considered season-ending at the time.”

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