Jared Dudley knows that his biggest impact on the Los Angeles Lakers comes off the court as a leader in the locker room. However, he still can provide value with his defensive acumen and his 3-point shooting. Last season, of the Lakers’ 92 combined games between the regular season and the playoffs, Dudley played in 54.
This season, however, he has played in just 11 of the team’s 65 games due to a torn MCL in his knee. Dudley opted not to get surgery on this injury, likely because the severity of the injury didn’t warrant an operation and could be rehabbed. This left open the possibility of him returning to action during the 2020-21 season, while surgery would have closed that door.
Now, as the regular season comes to a close, Dudley hinted that his return may be sooner than expected, according to the Lakers veteran on Twitter:
???????? the last paragraph is false! I’ll be back before playoffs ???????? https://t.co/OvRIDjwGFu
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) May 5, 2021
Dudley then confirmed to us that he will be back next weekend:
Next weekend! https://t.co/dZrzcfntLJ
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) May 6, 2021
There are only seven games remaining in the regular season. So if Dudley plans on being back before the playoffs begin, this means that he could be active within the next week. In the playoffs, he may not see the floor much, but given the current state of the team on the injury front, he may have a chance to see some time.
Even if he doesn’t play at all, having him as a reliable veteran option off the bench in spot minutes would be a relief for Frank Vogel and his staff. This has always been the case for Dudley.
And while Dudley doesn’t need extra motivation to help his teammates from afar, being active and in uniform could make him feel even more a part of the action. All in all, Dudley being back in action can only serve as a positive for L.A.
Matthews emphasizes importance of staying ready
Lakers guard Wesley Matthews — after a string of DNP’s — had one of his better games of the season in a Lakers win over the Denver Nuggets. He spoke about “staying ready,” a mantra that was coined by Dudley when he came to L.A.
“Everything is just like life, it’s unpredictable, you have to adjust, you have to adapt, you have to be prepared and personally, that’s what I’ve been doing. Staying in the gym, staying ready, working on the things I need to work on while trying to keep my mind clear, my mind focused on the task at hand.”
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