Trevor Ariza is reportedly nearing his return from the ankle injury that has prevented him from making his season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021-22.
Head coach Frank Vogel recently emphasized the impact of Ariza’s injury, admitting his vision for the Lakers this year centered around the veteran forward anchoring the defense while L.A. plays with Anthony Davis deployed at center.
Vogel should be able to resurrect his plans soon. Ariza joined the South Bay Lakers’ practice session together with Rajon Rondo and Kent Bazemore on Monday, suggesting the 36-year-old has entered the final stage of his rehab:
Yesterday's practice was one for the ages.
— South Bay Lakers (@SouthBayLakers) December 14, 2021
Ariza is seen participating in various drills with members of the G League team, including scrimmage play. Recent reports claim the forward could make his first appearance of the season before Christmas.
Meanwhile, Bazemore and Rondo proved their professionalism, practicing with South Bay to stay in shape after playing a minor role in Vogel’s rotation in recent weeks.
The former played in just three of L.A’s last 10 games while the latter made only one appearance during the same period.
Known for his leadership skills, Rondo offered South Bay’s players words of encouragement and inspiration after the training session.
I’m proud of you guys,” the veteran guard said. “Some have been here before, some have not but obviously, the ultimate goal is to get to the top.
“The way you guys competed today; keep grinding, listen to your coach, get better every day, compete. Continue to play and sacrifice for one another, and hope for the best.”
Lakers expect Kendrick Nunn to return in January
Unlike Ariza, Kendrick Nunn is expected to remain sidelined for a few more weeks. The Lakers are believed to have set January as the target date for the guard’s comeback.
Nunn has been ruled out since the preseason with a bone bruise in his knee.
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