The Los Angeles Lakers just can’t seem to stay fully healthy.
Lakers guard Gabe Vincent recently made his return from an extended absence, but he will now be out for another large period of time. He is set to undergo surgery and will be out for at least six weeks.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 25, 2023
Earlier this season, Vincent missed nearly two months of action with a left knee injury. He returned to play 14 minutes in the Lakers’ 16-point loss to the Chicago Bulls five days ago, recording three points, one rebound and three assists.
He missed the team’s next two games and will now miss another large chunk of the season. It’s been a frustrating campaign for the former Miami Heat guard, who joined the Lakers on a three-year, $33 million deal in the offseason.
High expectations came with that contract, but the 27-year-old hasn’t been on the court enough to meet them. Even when he has been on the court this season, he hasn’t been all that effective. In five appearances, he’s recording 5.4 points, 1.0 rebound and 3.0 assists per game while shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and 11.8 percent from downtown.
Injuries to key players must be very frustrating for head coach Darvin Ham and the rest of the Lakers organization.
After a recent loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ham said that things would get better “once we get guys back healthy.”
Darvin Ham: "We'll break through this thing once we get guys back healthy."
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) December 22, 2023
However, it seems like being fully healthy is just an unrealistic expectation for the Lakers this season. Jarred Vanderbilt is another key player who has missed time, and he recently admitted that he’s been pushing himself to play at less than 100 percent due to knowing how far the team can go if fully healthy.
Ham inserted Vanderbilt into the starting lineup for the first time this season in L.A.’s most recent game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The move seemed to work, as the team came away with a 129-120 victory, arguably its best win of the season so far.
Lakers star LeBron James gave his stamp of approval to the lineup, highlighting a key area it gave the Lakers an advantage in.
LeBron says the new lineup's ability to "clean glass" was one of the most important advantages.
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) December 24, 2023
James and the Lakers will look to keep the momentum created from the Thunder game in their Christmas Day showdown against the Boston Celtics.
Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. PST.