The Los Angeles Lakers could get back injured Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince soon but may have to wait a little longer for the returns of Jarred Vanderbilt and Jalen Hood-Schifino, head coach Darvin Ham said Saturday.
Speaking before their game against the Orlando Magic, Ham provided updates on the four players who have a variety of injuries.
Darvin Ham says the returns of Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince are both “sooner rather than later.” Jarred Vanderbilt? “Later rather than sooner.” And he added that rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino is “still a few weeks out”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 4, 2023
Hachimura has missed the past two games and is working through concussion protocol. Prince started the first four games of the season before being sidelined with a knee injury. In addition, Vanderbilt has been out since the preseason because of bursitis in his left heel. While, Hood-Schifino has yet to make his NBA regular season debut while dealing with a knee injury.
Cam Reddish replaced Prince in the starting lineup on Wednesday and was expected to do so again on Saturday.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell have been the mainstays in the starting lineup as the Lakers have opened the season with a 3-2 record. They have won two in a row heading into the matchup against the Magic.
The injuries have had an adverse effect on the available depth for Ham to call on, which has scuttled the plan to limit James’ workload and minutes in his 21st NBA season. The 38-year-old played more than 42 minutes in a 130-125 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
The Lakers were only able to use eight players in that win and needed everything that James could provide. The performance — 35 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots – drew rave reviews on social media afterward.
Ham earlier in the season said the trend would be for James to play about 29 minutes per game, but that looks to be shelved for now as the Lakers aim to get healthier.
At full strength, Los Angeles should be a strong contender to get back to the playoffs, where it will try again to compete for another NBA championship. Though it may not be what the Lakers wanted, getting through these early season struggles could make the team more resilient and pay off later in the season.