The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are pessimistic about when Jarred Vanderbilt might be able to return from his foot injury.
“According to team and league sources, there is some internal pessimism regarding Vanderbilt’s potential return,” wrote Jovan Buha. “Before the announcement he was set to be re-evaluated in three to four weeks, team sources believed he was trending toward being done for the season.”
Vanderbilt to date has been able to avoid surgery to repair the injury to his right foot, but a season-ending procedure reportedly has not been ruled out. The 24-year-old has not played since Feb. 1, when he was unable to play in the second half against the Boston Celtics.
He had 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals in that game before leaving. Despite playing without LeBron James and Anthony Davis — and losing Vanderbilt to the injury — the Lakers were able to defeat the Celtics 114-105 at Boston.
The University of Kentucky product did not make his season debut until Dec. 2 after dealing with bursitis in his heel. He is averaging 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in his 29 appearances this season.
The Lakers did not make a deal prior to the NBA trade deadline on Thursday in part because they reportedly are hopeful that Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent will be able to return from injuries for a postseason run. Vincent has a knee injury and has appeared in just five games after signing as a free agent this past offseason.
Dejounte Murray of the Atlanta Hawks reportedly was a trade target, but the Lakers were reluctant to include Austin Reaves to make such a deal happen. They also may have considered dealing away Taurean Prince, but head coach Darvin Ham reportedly was vocal about retaining him.
The Lakers may be in play to add Spencer Dinwiddie, who is a free agent after being traded by the Brooklyn Nets and subsequently let go by the Toronto Raptors. Otherwise, they are likely to go forward with the roster they have now as they try to climb the standings in the Western Conference and secure a playoff berth.
Los Angeles had its three-game winning streak end with a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. The Lakers sit in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 27-26 record with a game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.