The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a much-needed win against the Utah Jazz on Monday night, getting rid of some of the bad taste in their mouths after getting blown out by the Denver Nuggets a couple of days prior.
It was a night-and-day two-way performance from the Lakers, who played with much more energy and effort than usual. Stanley Johnson was the catalyst for the victory as he scored several teams in isolation against Rudy Gobert and did an excellent job defensively fronting the post and making the proper rotations along the perimeter.
There has not been much to cheer about in Los Angeles given the team’s struggles since Anthony Davis went down with an MCL injury, but this win against the Jazz might be the shot in the arm they need to turn things around. More importantly, Davis seems to be progressing well in his rehab and according to head coach Frank Vogel, it sounds like the star big man will take the next step toward a return to the court.
“Everything looked clean on the MRI and the check-up with the doctors, so he’s been cleared for an on-court ramp-up with contact,” Vogel said after the win over Utah. “That doesn’t mean we’ll have a timeline, there’s still a re-conditioning and ramp-up involved, so we won’t have a timeline on it.”
This is obviously good news and it is in line with recent reports that the Lakers could be targeting Davis’ return during their upcoming Grammy road trip. Davis was originally given a four-to-six-week timeline after suffering the injury, and the end of the month would put him right on schedule.
During Davis’ absence, Vogel has leaned completely into a small ball identity and he has already revealed that he has an idea of what the team will look like when the All-Star is back and healthy. LeBron James has spent most of his time playing center in Vogel’s new lineups, so he and Davis will likely split time there.
With over half the 2021-22 season already in the books, the Lakers might feel like there is not enough time to correct their issues, but getting Davis would be a massive step toward that goal. Hopefully the ramp-up period goes well and Davis is back suiting up in Purple and Gold sooner rather than later.
Frank Vogel says Kendrick Nunn’s 2021-22 season debut will be delayed
While the Lakers received good news on Davis, the same could not be said for Kendrick Nunn. Nunn has yet to play for the Lakers this season due to a bone bruise and Vogel announced that his ramp up period did not go according to plan and his debut will need to wait.
“So Kendrick actually suffered a setback,” Vogel said before Monday’s game. “Not necessarily a setback, but the ramped-up activity, his knee didn’t respond well to it with the bone bruise. Bone bruises are tricky and his timeline is delayed. We still don’t have no firm timeline on it, but he’s pulled back from his workload until it calms down.”
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