Just when it appeared the Los Angeles Lakers would be at full strength for the first time this preseason, Josh Hart tweaked his hamstring and was removed from practice early this week.
Hart wanted to return to practice on Tuesday, but Lakers head coach Luke Walton instructed the competitive guard to remain out as his hamstring still had some tightness. Walton at the time deemed Hart questionable for the team’s preseason game with the Golden State Warriors.
After participating in shootaround in Las Vegas on Wednesday morning, Walton said Hart is now a game-time decision, via Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
“He’ll be a game-time decision. He went through shootaround today, we’ll see how he feels. He’ll go back and get some more treatment and be a game-time decision.”
With just two preseason games remaining and Ball returning, there is some significance for Walton and his coaching staff to get a complete look at their roster. However, Walton just as well stressed the importance of Hart being available come the regular season.
“He’s very important to what we do. We want to start the season as healthy as we can be,” Walton said this week. “The way he works, what he does so well are the little things. The little things that help teams win that a lot of times don’t go down in stat sheets. Those are the things that, in my opinion, make Josh special.”
Hart went into training camp competing with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the starting role at shooting guard. The injury may prevent him from making any more headway, but Walton has said he anticipates using several lineups throughout the season.
On the injury front, this now marks a second year in a row that Hart has been sidelined. He suffered an ankle sprain during Summer League, hamstring strain at the beginning of training camp, and Achilles strain just prior to the start of the 2017-18 season.
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