Forward Jarred Vanderbilt was a major driving force behind them taking an early lead, but he had to exit late in the second quarter with a foot injury. Fortunately, X-rays on that foot were negative.
Vando headed back to the locker room after this play pic.twitter.com/PR3LCSNRUF
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) February 2, 2024
X-rays were negative on Jarred Vanderbilt’s foot, per the team.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) February 2, 2024
Ever since making his regular season debut after missing the first several weeks of the schedule with heel bursitis, Vanderbilt has been working his way back into game shape. Lately, he has looked like the man who sparked the team late last season after arriving in February’s Russell Westbrook trade.
He was in the starting lineup against the Celtics, and many fans have been calling for him to move into the starting lineup dating back to training camp.
His defensive activity and versatility, ferociousness on the boards and overall energy and intensity have been invaluable for a Lakers team that has often lacked those qualities this season. Recently, he has also found ways to contribute offensively.
On Thursday, he had 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals in just 16 minutes before he came down with his injury.
The Celtics are, to most, the best team in the NBA right now, and they entered Thursday with the best record in pro basketball. But after L.A. opened up a sizable lead in the first quarter, they almost seemed shell-shocked, and the Lakers controlled the game the rest of the way.
Guard Austin Reaves led the way with a very efficient 32 points while his backcourt running mate D’Angelo Russell had 14 assists. But the Lakers won the game with their defense, rebounding, overall energy and intensity.
If Vanderbilt were to miss any time, especially for an extended stretch, it would be a major negative for them, especially since they have had lots of trouble getting more than a few games over .500 all season.