Josh Hart suffered a sprained ankle but was able to make a return in the 109-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers that wrapped up a three-game road trip. Originally listed as questionable due to what was later called a strained ankle tendon, Hart has since played against the Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic.
While the 23-year-old deserves credit for playing through the injury, he has been extremely limited. Hart has gone scoreless in each of the past two games while only averaging 14.5 minutes.
As Hart contemplated if he is helping on hurting the team, he will be available against the Denver Nuggets, according to Mike Trudell:
Josh Hart said he has to gauge if he’s able to help the team with his sore ankle, but he’s tried to play through it thus far. Walton has limited him some in the past few games, but Hart thinks he’s good enough to go, and will be available tonight.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 27, 2018
Since president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka took over, the Lakers have been extremely cautious with injuries. Considering how patient they were with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, it is surprising they have allowed Hart to play.
Particularly since he hasn’t played to his usual expectations. Lakers head coach Luke Walton even remarked he didn’t believe Hart was moving well in the game against the Jazz.
While there aren’t restrictions, Walton conceivably will continue to limit Hart’s minutes and the hope is he does not further aggravate it. As the Lakers have tended to rely on Hart in late-game situations, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has seen more minutes since the injury.