Lakers provide injury updates on multiple key players as opening night approaches

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers own a 2-3 preseason record at the moment.

Ahead of their Thursday preseason finale against the Phoenix Suns, they’ve provided injury updates on guard Gabe Vincent, forward Jarred Vanderbilt and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino.

Los Angeles inked Vincent to a three-year, $33 million deal in free agency after his fantastic playoff run with the Miami Heat during their journey to the NBA Finals a season ago.

The 27-year-old guard emerged as a solid scoring option for the Heat during the playoffs, as he averaged 10-plus points per game in all four of Miami’s series. But his best series from a scoring perspective came against Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Vincent averaged 15.8 points per game for the series while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 51.6 percent from outside the 3-point arc. The Heat eliminated the Celtics in seven games to reach the NBA Finals, though the series probably should have been decided sooner, seeing as how Miami owned a 3-0 series lead at one point before losing Games 4, 5 and 6.

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt was selected with the No. 41 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Last season, the Lakers acquired him via trade along with guards D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley in February.

The forward averaged 7.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game in 26 games played for Los Angeles during the 2022-23 regular season (24 starts). He quickly established himself as one of the team’s best defensive players.

Finally, the Lakers drafted Hood-Schifino with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. He played one season of college basketball at Indiana University and averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game across 32 appearances with the Hoosiers during the 2022-23 season (all starts).

Ideally, at least one of the players in question will be able to play against the Suns on Thursday, though that doesn’t seem to be on the table for Vanderbilt. The playing time would likely be most meaningful for Hood-Schifino, as he’s a rookie and might not get consistent playing time with the team once the 2023-24 regular season rolls around.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.