The Los Angeles Lakers announced Josh Hart underwent successful surgery to repair the fracture of the fourth metacarpal on his left hand. Hart is expected to miss four to six weeks while recovering.
Hart suffered the injury during Wednesday’s practice in Miami. He returned to Los Angeles, where the operation was completed by Dr. Steven S. Shin. The projected timeline leaves open the possibility that Hart could return this season.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton said this week he did not rule out Hart missing the remainder of the season, but added the team would not rush his recovery.
While no injury is ever convenient, it’s a particularly tough break considering the 22-year-old had settled into a key role as a starter. In his last 10 games since being inserted into the lineup Feb. 2, Hart had scored in double-figures eight times and produced four double-doubles.
Hart set a career high with 14 rebounds against the Brooklyn Nets in his first start of the stretch. He is averaging 6.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in 55 games (20 starts) this season.
With Hart’s injury and a buyout agreement reached with Corey Brewer, the Lakers suddenly lacked depth for Thursday’s game against the Heat. As a result, Walton stuck with an eight-man rotation, though it didn’t seem to negatively impact the team.
Isaiah Thomas scored a season-high 29 points off the bench, Julius Randle turned in another strong performance, and Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball each had all-around efforts. But Ingram’s availability for Saturday’s game is in question as he suffered a left hip flexor strain.
The Lakers signed Travis Wear to a 10-day contract, and he’s expected to join the team in San Antonio.