Injuries have been one of the biggest obstacles the Los Angeles Lakers have faced, particularly since Christmas, when LeBron James and Rajon Rondo last played. Neither of the veterans has returned but continue to make progress in their respective recoveries.
Prior to James and Rondo sustaining an injury in the blowout win over the Golden State Warriors, Brandon Ingram (sprained left ankle) and JaVale McGee (pneumonia) missed time. Additionally, Rondo required surgery to repair a fracture in his right hand, and Christmas was only his fourth game back.
The Lakers have predictably struggled without their two leaders, and the 12-game stretch also included losing Kyle Kuzma for 2.5 contests because of a lower back contusion. Tyson Chandler recently admitted to not being 100 percent himself, and alluded to others on the roster pushing through their own issues as well.
One of them appears to have been Josh Hart as he’s been battling back spasms, per Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
Josh Hart: "Being a starter then not being a starter is always challenging, but then having back spasms the last several days, that’s always challenging too. At the end of the day, I gotta do whatever I can do to help this team win."
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 18, 2019
The back trouble would help explain Hart’s shooting slump that played a role in being replaced in the starting lineup by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. To Hart’s credit, he’s accepted the change and still focused on contributing.
No more was that evident than in the 138-128 overtime win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Hart was part of the Lakers bench unit erasing what grew to a 17-point deficit. He finished the night with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.
Reminder: Vivid Seats is the Official Ticket Reseller of LakersNation.com. New Customers use “LAKERSNATION” (all CAPS) in the Vivid Seats App on your phone and get 10% off any Lakers home game ticket order for the remainder of the season.