LeBron James: Jarred Vanderbilt’s Potential Return Would Bring ‘Energy’ To Lakers
Jarred Vanderbilt, LeBron James, Lakers
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

A player that the Los Angeles Lakers are desperately missing is Jarred Vanderbilt, who always provides a ton of energy and hustle. Specifically when it comes to the defensive end, he is someone who could take the assignment of guarding Jamal Murray in their first-round matchup with the Denver Nuggets if he was healthy.

Another underrated skillset that Vanderbilt has is attacking the glass and giving the Lakers second-chance opportunities. There was some newfound optimism that the forward could make his long awaited return in Game 3 at Crypto.com Arena as he continues to progress from a foot injury.

However, he ultimately was ruled out for Game 3 although it seems that the 25-year-old is on the cusp of coming back to the lineup. One thing that LeBron James is looking forward to in a potential return is the energy that Vanderbilt provides, something that the team does not have without him.

“Energy,” James said. “Super high energetic, defensively, some of the things he brings to our team, you don’t even teach. You just allow him to go out there and just be Vando. We don’t know for sure that we’re getting him back, we don’t know, we’ve only seen a couple reports. But he knows his body better than anybody.”

Hopefully the former Kentucky Wildcat is able to return at some point to provide that energy factor despite some pessimism about him being close to full strength. The Lakers are missing a glue guy, someone who does all the little things that gets the team going and perhaps he can come back before it is too late.

It was truly unfortunate when the 6’8″ forward got hurt back on Feb. 1 in Boston against the Celtics because he was rounding back into form after he did not look 100% coming back from his heel injury. Should Vanderbilt return, expectations should be tampered since he has not played in over three months and needs to work his way back into game shape. But he can provide stuff that no one else on the roster can, so a return would certainly be welcomed.

Christian Wood also out for Lakers in Game 3

One other injured Lakers player that seems to be close to returning is big man Christian Wood, who has been dealing with a knee issue.

Similar to Vanderbilt, there was a possibility that Wood would be able to return in Game 3, although he was also ruled out so Game 4 is the earliest he may be back on the court.

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