Lakers Rumors: Christian Wood Expected To Miss Remainder Of Regular Season But Could Return For Playoffs
Christian Wood, Lakers
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The ebbs and flows of the 2023-24 season have finally begun to favor the Los Angeles Lakers, who have resuscitated themselves for the second year in a row.

After looking dead in the water before the All-Star break, the Lakers have managed to string together a respectable record since and are firmly locked into the Play-In Tournament race. Los Angeles is nearly guaranteed to hold onto one of the final two spots, though they have an outside shot to move up in the Western Conference standings.

What’s made their recent surge more impressive is they’ve done it while missing multiple rotation players. Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent continue to progress through their rehab assignments, while Cam Reddish has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury that’s kept him in and out of the lineup.

Christian Wood was the latest player to suffer an injury and after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and the team reportedly expects him to miss the remainder of the regular season although he could return for the playoffs, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

“Wood is expected to miss the rest of the regular season; there’s a chance he’ll return for Play-In game(s) or the playoffs if the Lakers get there, according to team sources.”

Head coach Darvin Ham previously said potentially losing Wood for the rest of the season would be a huge blow for the team, and it appears that his recovery timeline will keep him out for the Lakers’ remaining games in the regular season. While he has a chance to return for the Play-In Tournament and postseason, he would likely find it difficult to earn minutes as he works his way back into game shape.

Without Wood, Los Angeles will be forced to lean more on Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes at center, while players like LeBron James and Rui Hachimura will possibly have to moonlight there as well. Size and length have been the Lakers’ biggest advantages in recent years, but Wood’s potential loss compromises some of their front court depth.

The Lakers still should have enough talent on the roster to make it through without Wood, but getting their big man back at any point would be a great boost.

Lakers internally optimistic Jarred Vanderbilt returns during 2023-24 season

So far, Ham and the rest of the organization have publicly sounded like Vanderbilt will return from the mid-foot sprain he suffered against the Boston Celtics. It seems that internally there’s more confidence Vanderbilt will return instead of Vincent.

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