The Los Angeles Lakers have wrapped up their preseason slate, and luckily they were able to get through it without any major injuries.
There have been some minor ones, however, with Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent and Jalen Hood-Schifino being among those to miss multiple preseason games with issues.
Vincent sat out the Lakers’ last three games with back tightness, although Darvin Ham maintained all along that it was just precautionary and the hope was that he would be ready to return on Tuesday when the Lakers take on the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the season opener.
Ham confirmed that would be the case after practice on Saturday as Vincent was re-evaluated and it has been determined that he will be able to play on Tuesday, Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Gabe Vincent is “in the clear”, via Darvin Ham, and practiced today. As such, expect him to be available for Tuesday’s opener.
Jarred Vanderbilt is still listed as day-to-day; he did not practice in full, and remains a question mark for Tuesday.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 21, 2023
This is obviously great news for the Lakers, who will be looking to start the season off on the right foot by getting some revenge on the team that swept them in the Western Conference Finals. Vincent will also be looking for some revenge of his own after losing to Denver in the NBA Finals as a member of the Miami Heat.
Vincent was the Lakers’ big signing of the offseason, using their mid-level exception to pry him away from Miami.
While Ham has already announced his starting backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, Vincent will surely play a big role off the bench as the team’s third guard. His absence was felt in the preseason finale against the Phoenix Suns when Ham pulled his starters in the third quarter and the team was left without any primary ball-handlers, resulting in a blowout loss.
Health is most important though, especially this early in the year, so it made sense for the Lakers to be cautious with Vincent to ensure it doesn’t become a long-term issue.
Vanderbilt unlikely to play in season opener
While Vincent should be good to go on Tuesday, the same can’t be said for Vanderbilt as he remains day-to-day with heel soreness. Ham revealed that Vanderbilt is unlikely to suit up against the Nuggets although luckily it doesn’t look like he will miss much time beyond that.
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