Lakers Rumors: Jarred Vanderbilt Targeting Early April Return
Jarred Vanderbilt, Lakers
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers appear to be peaking at the right time as they’ve managed to win several games to keep pace in the Western Conference standings.

The Lakers are all but assured to make the Play-In Tournament but getting out of it and qualifying for the postseason is an entirely different challenge. However, they could be getting reinforcements for the bench soon as Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent continue to progress through their respective rehabs.

In Vandebilt’s case, the team has been bullish on his chances of returning before the 2023-24 season ends and it appears that his return is on the horizon, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

“From what I’ve heard, the Lakers are targeting early April,” Buha said. “I don’t have a concrete date in terms of is that like April 2nd? Is that April 9th? But sometime within that first week to week-and-a-half of April the Lakers are trying to get Vando back. The season ends on April 14th, so they are trying to get him back to get him three or four games under his belt.

“One good sign is he’s been traveling with the team. So Gabe, for example, was not with the team. Gabe is just joining the team today in Indianapolis and then gonna be traveling with them to Brooklyn. Vando’s been on this whole trip and we see him working out in the weight room pregame and going through his different stuff.”

Although Vanderbilt’s return date is up in the air, it’s obviously good news that the team is planning for him to return with a few games left in the regular season. This new report is in line with previous updates as Vanderbilt hasn’t begun any contact work, but recently started running.

Los Angeles could definitely use Vanderbilt off the bench as he’s the team’s best point of attack defender and offers some versatility in the front court. With Christian Wood expected to miss the remainder of the year, getting Vanderbilt back to absorb some minutes at center would help the Lakers tremendously.

LeBron James believes Rui Hachimura has looked comfortable in Lakers’ starting lineup

When Vanderbilt went down to injury, head coach Darvin Ham went with Rui Hachimura to replace him in the starting five. The move proved to be a wise one as Hachimura has been a consistent source of offense and even LeBron James noted that he looks more comfortable as a starter.

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