Although the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a disappointing overtime loss to the Boston Celtics with the referees missing another crucial call late, there were some positives to take away from the game.
One of those was the play of Lonnie Walker IV, who returned to action after missing the last 14 games with knee tendinitis.
Walker was on a minutes restriction so was limited to just 18 minutes off the bench, but he still poured in 13 points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal while shooting 6-for-8 from the field.
More importantly though, Walker expressed after the game that he came out of it healthy and was excited to return to action:
Lonnie Walker IV says he felt good physically in his return and felt like a "kid in a candy store" being able to play again.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) January 29, 2023
Walker was a key piece for the Lakers before going down with the injury so it is good to see that he is feeling healthy after his return to action.
In 33 total games (32 starts), Walker has averaged 14.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting an impressive 38.3% from 3-point range on 5.3 attempts.
Considering Walker has started every game prior to Saturday night, it will be interesting to see if he re-enters the starting lineup whenever he is off his minute restriction. Darvin Ham has started a backcourt of Dennis Schroder and Patrick Beverley with Troy Brown Jr. at the three in Walker’s absence, but changes could be coming now that the Lakers are close to being back at full strength.
Reaves expected to miss at least next three games
With Walker and Anthony Davis both returning to action this past week, the Lakers are as close to being fully healthy as they have been all season.
The only injured player remaining is Austin Reaves, who is dealing with a hamstring issue. While Reaves is also not far off from returning the Lakers recently announced that he will be reevaluated in a week which means he will miss at least three more games.
At 23-27 the Lakers will need to go on a run to get back in postseason contention, and having their key guys healthy and performing will go a long way in helping make that happen.
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