The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2021-22 season hasn’t even started yet and they’ve already lost a key player as it was announced that Trevor Ariza underwent ankle surgery and will be evaluated in eight weeks.
Ariza was projected to be the Lakers’ starting power forward, so this was a big loss, although the team does have some depth to make up for his absence in the first couple of months of the regular season.
LeBron James has competed against Ariza for over a decade, so he knows what the veteran brings to the table and says they will welcome him back with open arms whenever he is able to return.
“Obviously anytime you’re dealing with surgery you wish for the best,” James said. “But we believe in our docs and everyone has been saying that he’ll come back at full strength. So six to eight weeks during a marathon may feel long for him but we welcome him coming back at hundred percent, we can’t wait to get him back on the floor with us.”
It will be interesting to see how the Lakers decide to replace Ariza in the starting lineup, whether it be remaining small with Anthony Davis at center or shifting him down to power forward and starting a true center in DeAndre Jordan or Dwight Howard.
Regardless though, Ariza has a ton of playoff experience and will be someone the Lakers can rely on if he’s able to get back to 100% in the second half of the season.
Given his age (36 years old), not playing a full regular season may honestly be best for Ariza in the long run, and it is good to see he has the continued support of James and the Lakers organization in his recovery process.
Ariza tried to play through injury before undergoing surgery
When discussing Ariza’s injury, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel recently revealed that he actually tried to play through it. The issue didn’t get better though, so Ariza and the organization decided that surgery was the best course of action.
“He didn’t do the contact portion [of practice], if I recall correctly, but he did all the running and non-contact drills and it just wasn’t where it needed to be so they went for a further evaluation and decided this was the best course of action,” Vogel said.
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