Lakers Jarred Vanderbilt May Return from Foot Injury Before NBA Playoffs

Los Angeles Lakers center Jarred Vanderbilt suffered a right foot injury but could return before the regular season ends, showing more internal optimism about his recovery.

‣ Vanderbilt has shown significant performance improvements this season, achieving the highest points-per-game average over a six-game stretch in his six-year career, despite missing the first 20 games due to bursitis in his left heel.

‣ The Lakers are dealing with multiple injuries, but Vanderbilt is more likely to return for the NBA playoffs compared to teammates like Gabe Vincent and Christian Wood, with Wood expected to miss the rest of the regular season following an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee.


Oh, the drama on the court! Los Angeles Lakers’ center, Jarred Vanderbilt, found himself hobbling off with a right foot injury. This was during a nail-biter against the Boston Celtics on the first of February. The Lakers snagged a win, 114-105, but at what cost?

Initially, the buzz was grim. Word on the street (or at least in the sports columns) suggested Vanderbilt was staring down the barrel of a season-ending procedure. But then, a glimmer of hope! X-rays at TD Garden showed no significant damage. NBA insider Jovan Buha of The Athletic hinted that Vanderbilt might just beat the clock and return before the Lakers’ season curtain call on April 14.

“There’s a buzz of optimism,” Buha penned. He’s got sources whispering sweet nothings about Vanderbilt’s potential comeback before the regular season bids adieu next month. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt’s been spotted working on his one-legged shots. A sight that’s got fans and teammates alike crossing fingers.

Vanderbilt, only 24, had already missed the season’s opening 20 games. A pesky case of bursitis in his left heel was the culprit. Despite this, the six-year veteran managed six starts in 29 appearances this season with the Lakers. Before this foot saga, he was clocking in 5.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and a smattering of assists and steals per game. Not to mention, his field goal and free throw percentages weren’t too shabby either.

The University of Kentucky alum was on a roll, averaging 11.3 points in his last six games. That’s the best he’s done in his six-year hustle, according to the number crunchers at ESPN Stats & Information.

In a twist, Vanderbilt’s comeback trail seems a tad more promising than Gabe Vincent’s, who’s nursing a left knee issue. Vanderbilt’s performance had been on the upswing, notably in a victory against the Chicago Bulls on January 25. He dazzled with a season-high 17 points off the bench.

The forward had inked a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the Lakers last September. This deal kicks in next season and stretches till 2027-28. Meanwhile, Vincent, sidelined by a late December knee surgery, is still out of the game.

Of the two, Vanderbilt’s the likely candidate to hit the court in time for the NBA playoffs. But wait, there’s more injury news. Christian Wood, another Lakers forward/center, just had a knee scope. He’s out for a bit but might return for the playoffs, should the Lakers clinch a spot.

Wood, who joined the Lakers on a one-year deal, is playing for $2.7 million this season. He’s got a player option for 2024-25 worth $3.03 million. With the regular season winding down, the Lakers are in a tight race, sitting ninth in the Western Conference standings. They’re just a hair ahead of the Golden State Warriors and chasing the Sacramento Kings for that coveted eighth seed.

So, as the Lakers navigate these injury woes and playoff dreams, fans are left biting their nails. Will Vanderbilt and Wood make triumphant returns? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: the drama of the NBA never disappoints.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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