Latest Rui Hachimura update indicates he’s moving in right direction for Lakers

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura appears to be making progress toward a return to action, but he will not play against the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

Hachimura did on-court work Saturday morning for the Lakers as he looks to progress through concussion protocol. The forward hasn’t played this week.

The Lakers are certainly hoping that Hachimura can make a full recovery soon, as it would help the team’s depth going forward.

So far this season, Hachimura has appeared in three games and played 14.7 minutes per contest. The former lottery pick is averaging 8.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.

After being acquired before the trade deadline last season, Hachimura made a massive impact for the Lakers.

He appeared in 33 games with the Lakers in the regular season and made nine starts. For the entire 2022-23 regular season (including his time with the Washington Wizards), Hachimura averaged 11.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from beyond the arc.

He played so well that the Lakers made a point to keep him in free agency, signing him to a three-year, $51 million deal this past offseason.

It’s a positive sign that Hachimura is returning to the practice court in some capacity, as the Lakers could use him since another rotation piece – Gabe Vincent – is going to be out of the lineup for some period of time.

With Hachimura out, the Lakers relied more on Cam Reddish, Christian Wood and Max Christie against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. The team also didn’t have forward Taurean Prince in that game. If Prince can play against Orlando, he will likely have an expanded role as well.

Through five games this season, the Lakers are 3-2 with wins over the Clippers, Magic and Phoenix Suns. They’ve been able to go 2-0 in the games that Hachimura has missed with his injury.

The squad will look to win a third straight game on Saturday in its second and final matchup with the Magic this season. The teams are scheduled to play at 4 p.m. PST from Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.